Confessions of a Mask Summary Response
Despite seeming to praise the book in the beginning of her review, Schneider soon dives into criticism with “yet [it] comes across as a minor work. Schneider spends the next two paragraphs explaining the narrator’s infatuation with an upperclassman, Omi, and eventually, his fascination with the woman Sonoko. The narrator, Kochan, explains his journey to finding his sexuality, all the while wearing a “mask,” explains Schneider. She also compares Mishima’s protagonist with the one that is in Kubrick’s film, A Clockwork Orange, as well as The Catcher in the Rye, and Portnoy’s Complaint.
Schneider goes on to say that, since all these works came after Confessions of a Mask that “one can only assume where [they] might have gotten their influence. ” Schneider also comments on how Kochan’s “fantasies are not too far off that of “most young men, especially those who are feeling as an outcast.
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” All in all, Schneider thinks Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask is an average work that does little more that “show great potential for Mishima as a writer.
Schneider is right in saying that Confessions of a Mask is less about homosexuality and more about the effects of such feelings, as well as that Kochan, the narrator, is “a bit pathological,” however, she was incorrect in saying that the story was not compelling, nor was she right in saying that it was “not all that complex, either. ” Jessica Schneider explained Confessions of a Mask well by saying that the book was “less about blatant homosexuality” and more about how those kinds of feelings affect a young man in post-war Japan.
At the beginning of the novel, Kochan idolizes strong young men; even to the point that is becomes neurotic. This is the first hint of homosexuality in the novel, and about as close as it gets to being “blatant. ” Later on, when Kochan enters grade school, he is again shown to favor men. This, however, is overshadowed by how Kochan tries to hide behind his “proper” mask. The reader is more focused on how Kochan hides from the world, and fights with himself, rather than the fact that he is gay. This same idea of “hiding behind a mask” continues as Kochan ages.
When he goes into college, he meets a young woman by the name of Sonoko. Compelled by the need to conform, he manages to convince himself that he in “in love” with her. Kochan goes on to court her, only to end up realizing that he is living a lie. He then breaks off most of his connection with her, hoping that she will fade away. This idea of hiding and eventual disillusionment is something many readers can easily understand and relate to, since many have, at one point or another, hid their true selves from the world. In this way, Mishima connects deeply with his audience, using Kochan as a medium to explain his theme.