Memoirs of a Geisha. Memoirs of A Geisha is a novel by Arthur Golden. It is a Historical Drama that is set in Japan in the 1930’s. It follows the life of a young Japanese girl named Chiyo. She and her sister Satsu are sold into slavery during the great depression. Her father sells them to a businessman and because of Chiyo’s strange, grey eyes, she is sold into an okiya (a geisha house) in Gion, Kyoto while her sister is sold into prostitution.
After being in the okiya for a couple of months, she is allowed to attend a geisha school with another young girl in her Okiya named Pumpkin, where she would learn how to play a Japanese instrument called the samisen, learn tea ceremonies, read and write in Japanese and dance. She is not very fond of her living conditions and tries to escape with her sister, but that ends up failing. A geisha in the house named Hatsumomo doesn’t like her and would kindly make her living conditions worse. In doing so, she was pulled out of geisha school and was sent to being a maid until she paid all of her debts.
After a while of being a maid, she runs into Mahema, a professional and popular geisha in the town of Gion, and offers to aid her into becoming a geisha. However Hatsumomo is jealous of this and tries as hard as she can to destroy her chances. In the end, she becomes one of the most celebrated geisha of Gion and her tale becomes one of many great true stories. The book is revolved around the Great Depression and World War II. After she is driven away from her family and her village and put into a geisha house without her sister, she realizes that she will never see them again.
During the book, she has to face many issues, one being both her parents dying and the other with her sister escaping to never be seen by her again. After realizing all of this, she tries so hard to make a new life for herself, but her troubles are far from over when her chances of being a geisha are ruined not just by her but by Hatsumomo as well. It was hard for her to be in the same okiya as Hatsumomo because of the endless jealousy she had towards Chiyo. Throughout her life, Hatsumomo had control over her life because of what Chiyo was – a maid, a slave girl. She would get in trouble for anything Hatsumomo accused Chiyo of.
After being a geisha, Hatsumomo tried ruining her chances of becoming successful by tarnishing her reputation. All that happened though, was Chiyo- Now named by her geisha name Sayuri, becoming better known from this. This led to Hatsumomo getting driven out by the okiya never to be heard from again. During World War II, it struck Gion hard. The whole city had to be evacuated and Sayuri ended up in a small village in the mountains. After years of working there and not hearing anything of the outside world, a man named Nobu came and spoke to her saying that she was needed as a Geisha again.
Sayuri was hesitant, as she hadn’t been practicing the art of a geisha in awhile, but after persuasion, she finally gave in and went with Nobu back to Kyoto to pick up where she last left off. More issues and challenges faced her when she came back, as she got in contact with the Geisha Mahema, who helped her from the beginning and also Pumpkin, the girl she used to live in the Okiya with. Pumpkin was very angry at her, but concealed this from her, and in the end, betrayed Sayuri with the man that she loved.
This book would appeal to students in the sense of learning about a different style of life. It would also help their understanding of particular cultures and traditions. It would make students visually think about the settings and surroundings in this book. It would also aid students into knowing how the Americans acted in Kyoto and how the Japanese acted back. It would explain to students what a geisha was required to wear and how she must act. It shows her transition from a little girl into a beautiful, successful geisha.
How she got to become a geisha would also show students how tough life was back then and how little opportunities they had. In the book, the writing is fairly easy to read although there are a lot of Japanese names and meanings, they explain what the meaning is in English text. The book would really appeal to students because of the lovely and meaningful story behind it. The writing aids your imagination and in every single chapter, there is an event or issue going on. The author makes sure that everything is clearly explained and has a follow up story to it.
Although the original story was actually an interview with another man and the geisha involved, he makes it seem like he was the actual person involved and writes it empathetically from his point of view. The way he does it seems like he was there throughout her life and makes it easier for the reader to understand where she is coming from because of the amount of emotion into each sentence. This text actually doesn’t compare to many books ive read. The language, although set in the 1930’s is quite modern, so I cant say that books I’ve read that are set or originated in that period are quite like this book.
This book though does compare to ‘A Series Of Unfortunate Events’ because like Memoirs of a Geisha, the story starts off with children being taken away from their parents. It also leads a very long and stressful journey. In memoirs, her long journey is her trying to be a geisha and overcoming all these tricky, long obstacles to get there while in A Series of Unfortunate Events, their obstacles are mainly caused by their Uncle who won’t stop at anything until he kills them for their riches.
That includes framing them for murder and making their lives absolutely horrible. Memoirs Of a Geisha is a very inspiring book. It should be recommended because it gives great insight into Japanese life in the 1930’s. It shows how a geisha should act and her requirements and also shows how little remorse they had to slavery & other cruel acts. ‘This is an epic tale and a beautiful evocation of a rapidly vanishing world. ’ http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Memoirs_of_a_Geisha http://www. japaneselifestyle. com. au/culture/memoirs_of_a_geisha. html Own knowledge