About Wasted Effort

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The novel's unraveling of events paints an accurate view of Shimamura's expectations. He views anything as a waste of time and money. This indicates he does not understand the positive essence of his day-to-day stay in the snow country. Despite possessing the same plans as any other Japanese guy to visit the gorgeous spa, Shimamura sees it all as a waste of time. Shimamura, on the other hand, sees something appealing about this waste of effort, despite the fact that it is a waste of effort.


Firsts the novel explains that Shimamura has three visits to the snow country. In the first visit, his notion stands at being a normal Japanese who resolves to have a picnic during his vacation to the snow country. In essences, his main aim is to enjoy his stay in the Snow Country. The beauty of nature and the transitory of seasons in the Snow country are a source of attraction to Shimamura.

He clearly knows that it is a waste of effort to visit the Snow Country since he will not gain anything in return. As seen, he is just a dilettante but his first visit to the Snow Country gives him the instinct that despite being a waste of effort, there is still something attractive. The beauty of nature as seen from the sounds of the insects and the beautiful landscape, the grass which appears rust colored, the beautiful mountains and the constellations which form the Milky Way are all attractive to Shimamura. Perhaps, no physical gain is obtained from envisaging the beautiful nature which makes its wasted effort but the wasted effort is beautiful and attractive to Shimamura which gives the reason why he opts to have three visits to the Snow country. Furthermore, in spite of being a wasted effort, his stay in the snow country give him a moment of sensuality and romance which he finds attractive; he clearly understood that it was a waste of time and effort.

Secondly, Shimamura decides to enjoy his stay in the Snow Country with a geisha. He clearly understands that there is no beauty on spending the time with a woman whose job is to entrance men.

When asking for a geisha, he states that it will be “an affair of the moment, no more. Nothing beautiful about it. You know that it could not last,” (Kawabata, 22). More over Shimamura gets into an intimate relationship with an amateur geisha during his first visit to the snow country. On the contrary, he understands that the woman is in the line of duty to eke out a living from entertaining the men. He knew clearly that Komako was in her restrictive professional responsibility but still he cannot avoid falling in love with her.it is stated that it was beyond his expectation that he would like a geisha woman yet to his surprise, the geisha turns out to become a good friend to him to make him remember her touch and the moistness of her body.

He states that Komako is a good woman regardless of her job. He knew that such a situation was a waste of effort yet he could not stop the feeling: this explains why he enjoyed having excursions in the snow country and not any other part. Additionally, he also understood that Komako was in love with him. It is clear, that she turns out to be very lively when she pays Shimamura a visit in his room. Komako gives Shimamura revelations from which any person would gauge them that she was a woman in love and not an ordinary geisha woman.

It turns out that regardless of the fact that he found it attractive to be loved by a traditional Japanese beauty, it was all but futile love. He even goes ahead to leave the hot springs and look forward to going back to Tokyo. From this perspective, Shimamura understood that it was all bleak and sordid for those to have an extensive relationship which makes it a waste of effort for them to fall in futile love but he still found it attractive.

Thirdly, it is evident that at some point, Shimamura lived in absolute fantasy. He was a real dilettante. He is absorbed by the fact he loves art. This is seen from the point where he makes a drawing on the foggy window which makes an optical reflection of the beautiful Yoko’s eye on the train as the train moved. He makes an artistic observation of the environment. He makes a keen observation of nature and the Milky Way constellation.

It is also evident that he claimed to be a talented Occidental ballet. In a real sense, he had never watched a real ballet dance. His assertions were obtained from the books he had read and the photographs which he had seen. However, his fantasy and disillusioned life were a form of wasted effort. It was a waste of time to live in fantasy since nothing was real. However, Shimamura found this aspect of fantasy rather attractive to him. He could not afford to envisage any tragic failure on his part. He says that he would rather sit in his armchair and be in a dreamland and full of unconscious fantasy than being hit by the blunt nature of reality.

Shimamura fantasy is of major disadvantage to his interactions. He has a mentality which portrays him as an egocentric individual. This is due to the fact that he does not care about those who are around him. He does not also consider what his feelings may be towards others. For example, he clearly understands that he has an undying admiration for Yoko. However, he behaves like it is not of ultimate concern. At the end of the novel, the seriousness of the tragedy that Yoko was on the verge of committing suicide does not hit him. As the story ends, no emotional picture about Shimamura is painted.

He is transfixed where he stood as he watched Komako carry the lifeless; rather, unconscious body of Yoko. His real feelings are not portrayed. The effort shown by Yoko to prove her feelings towards Shimamura is a form of wasted effort. She is on the verge of death but nothing is done by Shimamura’s to reciprocate her means of communication. This evident when the author explains how, after the tragedy, Shimamura remains enthralled by the beauty of the night fall. Besides, it is also explained that, during the six months of separation between Komako and Shimamura, her did not bother to write to her despite the fact that he understood her affection towards him. To him, it was like he found it attractive that these two ladies loved him which was a form of a wasted effort since he did nothing to reciprocate their emotional attachments to him.


Conclusively, the author gives an image of Shimamura as an individual whose life was mysterious. He had gained wealth through inheritance; which explains why he did not give credit to the misfortunes of reality. He only dwelt in sheer envisions of things that were forms of optical fantasies.

Work Cited.

Yasunari Kawabata. Snow Country. Japan 1948

October 19, 2022
Subject area:

Novel Perception Waste

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