Many don’t realize or grasp the idea that dying is certain and therefore end up living a life they are not actually pleased with. As Kurosawa warned, through his film Ikiru, “life is brief”. Kurosawa’s film should be understood as meaning that since life is so short, we should not take it for granted but instead do what makes us proud. This is important because at the end of the day, when it all comes down to it, we only have one life.
In my previous post, I seemed to share most of my thoughts about the movie and what it was I felt Kurosawa’s purpose was for making the film. After finishing the movie, most of my ideas are the same but there are some revisions.
I am arguing that Kurosawa’s “Ikiru” should be understood as a sort of warning to remind us of the fact that “life is brief” which is important because when it comes time to die, one should readily be able to accept their fate and not have to worry about “correcting” their life.
Death likes to creep up on its victims and if you live your life worried about materialistic things, you wont be ready to leave this earth when your time comes. He tries to show us that you cannot wait until the last minute to live a life of happiness and fulfillment. I feel that although this is his message, he ends it in a way that will leave his audience thinking even more. Instead of just saying “Okay, I see the light, I’m going to live my life right.” he wants the reader to really take action. He shows the asian worker stand up to his co-workers but seemingly defeated, the worker sits back down and buries himself back under loads of papers allowing the building to return to their original routine before Watanabe’s death. In ending this way I think his purpose was to show how it is so easy to say something after a epiphany such as this one but the real challenge is actually breaking the cycle and living out ones ideologies.
Death: The only way to scare the life back to life
“…Every moment of your life is lived for the future—you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college.” -John Green
It seems, the only way one can really make an effort to living the way they want to is when they are faced with death. Even us in today’s world live like this. Everyone is so busy planning for their futures they loose light of the true meaning of life. If someone gets sick or gets hit by a car or has any sort of near death experience do they decide to make life a priority. Before this many live as Watanabe, a zombie who only lived to “pass the time”.
Ikiru, as many have mentioned seems to be directly related to Ivan Ilyich. Both protagonists are caught up in their lives material wise they never look at the true values and meaning of their life until its too late. It is only when Watanabe is faced with stomach cancer that he decides to look at the life he’s lived.When he realizes his life has been cut short unexpectedly, he tried to spend a large amount of Yen. He goes out, drinks, buy new things, has fun and in the morning goes out again with his former coworker. He tires to stick to Toyo, a young wormen who is “so incredibly alive”.
I think Kurosawa’s intention of Ikiru was to show us that you cannot wait until the last minute to live a life of happiness. Life should never be put second behind work or money or housing. Death comes knocking when you least expect it. When it does, you don’t want to be in the same boat as Watanabe or Ivan Ilyich, regretting your whole life, using the last few days and weeks to search for your life’s true meaning. Kurosawa wants the audience to realize that “life is brief” as he says in the song Watanabe sings. Life is brief and therefore not a second should be wasted.
Kurosawa shows this through a juxtaposition in his characters throughout the movie. He places Watanabe and Toyo together majority of the movie in order to emphasize his message. She knew she hated her job and decided to quit whereas Watanabe worked for 30 years at the same job yet when it came time he could not remember a single significant thing he actually did. Toyo found what she life to do, build toy bunnies. She said it made her happy, like she was “playing with all the babies in Japan”. Not only this but Kurosawa shows the juxtaposition of the two when Watanabe buys the stockings for Toyo. She is so excited at reviving the gift and Watanabe seems confused as to how a mere pair of stockings can make her so happy. I think here he tries to show how Toyo is able to find happiness in the simplest of things whereas Watanabe is blinded.
Kurosawa decides to remind us of an honest fact, ”We humans don’t know how to live until death is upon us.” In order to be above this and know “how to live” we need to know the truth. Humans die. Life is brief. We need to make the most of it while we have time.
What a strong willed young girl Antigone is. Not only had she defied the King’s orders but she went against the pleads of her sister and buried hr dead brother.
It seems Antigone and Socrates have a lost in common. As with Socrates, Antigone believes in trusting the Gods over the King. Sure death may be the punishment because of this but for these two death is nothing to fear. “Nor did I think a mere mortal man could override the gods, the great unwritten, unshakable tradition” (Antigone 503-505). Like Antigone, Socrates felt the same. Had Socrates’s been forced to never practice philosophy as punishment, he directly said he’d disobey immediately for it would go against the intentions of the Gods. If death come so be it, he would die for a noble and worthy cause. Antigone, too, even said “Die I must, I’ve known it all my life. To die before my time, I consider that a gain”(Antigone 512, 515). She and Socrates had the same idea and the same consequence (I think, Antigone might not die but now that is what he fate looks like). I wonder if antigone will hold other beliefs that Socrates had too? We already saw she followed orders of higher, religious beings over that of mortal rulers, and that she was fearless of death, but are there others? I guess only time would tell but as of now, she seems as if she were one of Socrates’s disciples.
Even though the views of my peers may seem right, I offer a different definition of courage. I am arguing that courage involves rising to a certain challenge, but is not necessarily doing what one feels is morally correct, which is important because it helps me to explain how courageous Tim O’Brien actually was. Tim was not just a coward; he was courageous even when his actions questioned his morals.
Did you know that for pretty much the entire history of the human species, the average life span was less than thirty years? You could count on ten years or so of real adulthood, right? There was no planning for retirement, There was no planning for a career. There was no planning. No time for plannning. No time for a future. But then the life spans started getting longer, and people started having more and more future. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future—you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college.
On a different note, I found it very “wrong” (wrong in a sense that it was misjudged) I guess how the King accused money of corrupting people. In my opinion, I feel it was fear and power, not money. He was the exact example. The king would use fear and cause fear in the people of the kingdom in order to do and get what he wanted.
Antigone’s sister, Ismene, was feaful of the kings wrath and decided not to bury her brother. She, already sharing blood of a “Traitor” wanted to keep her life at all costs even if it meant going against her beliefs and leaving her brother to rot.he kings power seemed to get to his head, especially with the burial of the body. He directly went against the ways of old traditions. He builds up fear and uses it as a pivot point to expel his power. He felt because he was king all things he did were in order. In order to keep this “order” he would make sure those of the kingdom were fearful.
In addition, this idea can be seen when it comes to Sentry. Sentry was fearful of losing his life because of bringing bad news to the king. He kept saying how he has this “misfortune” and should not be punished because of it. This, though, only seemed to feed the Kings power. It provoked him to increase his power usage in order to get what he wanted. After anouncing the bad news in such a fearful manner, the king it seems, decided to exercise his power in the best way he see fit. He decided if the violator was not found, he would die. Now this seems too ridiculous, just because he brought bad news, he would be punished by death? But the king only saw this as fair. If he couldn’t get the head of a traitor he would easily replace it with someone else. It is obvious there is a direct relation of fear and power here. When his men are fearful, the King, Creon has more power to exercise and do as he please. His power though seemed to get to his head, especially with the burial of the body. He directly went against the ways of old traditions. In this sense his power is seen as corrupting but in addition to this, he was corrupt in his authority. He felt because he was king all things he did were in order.
Every century has its handful of exceptional amazing leaders. Having just seen one of these famous leaders speak yesterday, listening to Martin Luther King’s speech was inspirational. His speech made me want to applaud in the middle of class. What stood out most to me was the analogies he used. He compared history to a panoramic picture. Not only was I able to visualize history this way but I was able to actually see him there in the time period. I think another way he was able to capture my attention was by his continual use of the “we”. It just brought about a sense of unity. It made me feel as if it wasn’t just his idea but my own too. I know, had I been in the crowd at the time I would have readily joined him in this battle. Another morbid sort of thought I guess was how King said he would be okay with dying. It seemed kind like he was preparing to die. It was both an inspirational part of his speech but a creepy one as well. I felt when King described how he reached the top and was able to see over to the “Promised Land” he was able to paint the most inspirational picture I could ever imagine. I think it was sort of foreshadowing too. When I read it I sort of felt scared for him since the way he stated it seemed so confident. (For the superstitious, it would’ve been a “knock on wood” moment.) After the speech was over I felt inspired. His repetition and analogies really pulled me in. I don’t think he could’ve done a better job in giving this speech at all.
Courage can be derived from many places, coming in multiple forms and figures. Courage involves consciousness, it is not mere stupid actions but it is mustered up. Sometimes courage means just being able to get through the day that lays ahead, other times it means speaking up for what you believe in but overall courage is the ability to overcome or rise up to a certain challenge or obstacle whatever it may be. Unlike my peers, I feel courage does not always necessarily mean you are doing what you feel is right. Of course it takes time to think through ones decisions on which they choose to be courageous about but it does not mean what they are doing is still not courageous. Courage is cautiously doing something you are not readily comfortable with. Both “If I die in a Combat Zone” and “Laches” offer great definitions of courage that together convey and even stronger sense of the definition the one I spoke of beforehand.
According to Jordan, courage is “the ability of using wisdom and knowledge to make accurate decisions in overcoming fears and conquering cowardly actions”. I see this can be a valid point but there are still a number of flaws in it. Knowledge can make for better decisions but it does not always lead to courageous actions. I disagree with the idea that courage is the ability to make “accurate decisions” and “preventions of cowardly actions” but I do on the other hand agree with the idea that courage can help one overcome fear. O’Brien exemplifies this in a number of ways throughout the text. In addition, as Oscar pointed out, some peers believed courage dealt with morals and standing up for certain beliefs. I disagree with these peers because O’Brien, although not able to completely stand up for all he believed in, was still able to show courage in his actions. It seems in this definition, anything O’Brien does is completely wrong. Nothing he does is justified and he receives no note of being courageous anywhere throughout the book.
I additionally, agree with Jada’s definition of courage, “mental strength in hardships.” This I feel is one of the more accurate definitions of courage because it can be compared with different situations and still hold true. This can be seen in a number of places throughout O’Brien’s novel. Some of the more dominant areas being on page 56 where O’Brien argues for what he thinks is right. Additionally, this can be seen on page 81 when describing Mad Mark. Finally, this can be viewd on pages 68 and 121 when O’Brien shares his internal conflict and what he would like to do over what he did do. Finally, this can be viewed in “Laches” work as well when “Laches” says “courage is when a man is willing to stay at his post. ( E 675). Additionally, on 192 C I agree with the definitions, as some of my peers that courage is “a sort of endurance of the soul”. At o193 A Socrates relates Laches definition of courage to something similar to O’Brien.