February 19, 2000
Friendships, to Trust or not to Trust?
In the short stories, ?Separate Ways,? by Higuchi Ichiyo, and ?Uncanny Stories from the Scholar?s Studio,? by SongLing, the two pieces both demonstrate the limits, high and low, of friendship. Mrs. Chu and Mrs. Heng have a loving friendship, but not being able to trust is their downfall. Okyo and Kichizo also have a very loving and caring friendship, but money and riches overpowers their friendship in the end.
Mrs. Chu, and Mrs. Heng, in ?Uncanny Stories?? show a most admirable fulfilling friendship. Mrs. Chu was driven into the arms of a friend, after feeling deprived of her husband who spent most his days with his concubine. Mrs. Chu took a liking to Mrs. Heng, a neighbor. Mrs. Heng has an experience similar to that of Mr. Chu with her husband?s concubine, although the Heng?s never showed any signs of quarrels or discord in their household. This struck Mrs. Chu with an interest, because she wanted to know how her relationship with her husband could be brought back to a good situation. As the weeks and months passed by, the time the two women spent together increased. Mrs. Heng would give good advice as to how Mrs. Chu should approach her situation, and what she should do. Mrs. Chu followed all the orders, and as time passed, everything seemed to be working out as planned. Mrs. Chu regained the love and affection that she so badly wanted, and she gave all the thanks to Mrs. Heng. As the years passed, the two remained intimate friends.
In contrast to the admirable friendship the two ladies portrayed, I also believe their friendship has low limits. The whole time Mrs. Chu and Mrs. Heng were intimate friends, Mrs. Heng had a secret hidden. ?We to like each other as much as if we had one body?Now however we must part, so I may dare to tell you the truth. You see, I am a fox spirit?.? To me friendship is based on love, and most of all trust. Mrs. Chu and Mrs. Heng display the loving part of their friendship, but as for the trusting part, it is obvious their friendship lacks in that area. After all the years that passed, and everything the two ladies had gone through, Mrs. Heng didn?t tell Mrs. Chu that she was a fox spirit until the day she had to leave. Mrs. Chu felt very hurt and betrayed when she found out this news, ?Mrs. Chu gripped her hand, and took her leave sobbing.? The whole time Mrs. Chu thought their friendship was true, it was all based on a lie. Just imagine the pain Mrs. Chu had to go through after Mrs. Heng left, her intimate friend gone for good. If Mrs. Heng was a good friend in actuality, she would have told Mrs. Chu from the begging that she was a fox spirit, to save Mrs. Chu all the hurt and pain.
?Separate Ways? is another short story that demonstrates the limits, high and low, of a friendship. Okyo is a woman in her twenties who supports herself by sewing. Kichizo is a young boy of sixteen, who has no family, and works as an apprentice at an umbrella shop. Kichizo is a very lonely boy, who repeatedly gets taunted day in and day out. Okyo takes a liking to him, and after time passes, the two become very close. Okyo always lets Kichizo into her house if he needs to talk, no matter what time of day or night it is. If he is feeling low, she will give him words of wisdom that always makes him feel better. When Kichizo has not come to visit all day she says, ?You haven?t come to visit me all day. Did something happen? I?ve been worried about you.? The two are so close; Kichizo loves and cherishes Okyo just as if she was his own sister. Theses are the qualities that display the highest limits a friendship can achieve.
Despite all the high achievements the two have in friendship, Okyo does something to Kichizo that demonstrates the lowest limits a friendship can achieve, she leaves him. Without Okyo, Kichizo has nothing. He looks up to her with a greatness that nobody else could. Even with Okyo knowing this, she decides that money and riches are the most important thing to her. ?I?m sick off all this washing and sewing?I?m tired of these drab clothes. I?d like to wear a crepe kimono, even if it is tainted.? Okyo feels no grief towards Kichizo as she goes off to be a concubine. Kichizo has been hurt and betrayed by everyone he has ever loved and cared for, and now Okyo is doing the same to him. If Okyo were a true friend, like she says, it would not even be a choice to leave Kichizo, to become a concubine. Friendship and love should overcome money and riches. If you are truly happy with another person, it should not matter how much money you have, because the friendship alone should be enough.
These short stories just show a few examples of how friendship can be highly fulfilling, and at the same time have a low achievement. Even though these stories are fiction, they portray everyday situations that happen in real life. Every friendship has their ups and downs, but not always to this extreme.