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The Japanece Quince Essay

The action of “The Japanese Quince” appears at first glance quite simple and straightforward, perhaps deceptively so On a beautiful spring morning, Mr. Nilson opens his dressing room window, only to experience “a peculiar sweetish sensation in the back of his throat.” Descending to his dining room and finding his morning paper laid out, Mr. Nilson again experiences that peculiar sensation as he takes the paper in his hand. Hoping to rid himself of this uncomfortable feeling, Mr. Nilson determines to take a walk in the nearby gardens before breakfast. With paper firmly m hand behind him, Mr. Nilson notes with some alarm that even after two laps around the park, the unsettling sensation has not ceased. Breathing deeply only exacerbates the problem. Mr. Nilson is unable to account for the way he feels, until it…. .

Summary

“The Japanese Quince” is John Galsworthy’s short story of the beauty of nature, and its symbolism of perfection in contrast to the sameness of everyday life. As the story begins, it is a spring morning in 1910 London. A man named, Mr. Nilson, opens the window of his dressing room and experiences “a peculiar sweetish sensation” in the back of his throat, in addition to a feeling of emptiness under his ribs. Mr. Nilson notes the temperature of 60 degrees and sees that the little tree in the garden has begun to blossom. Mr. Nilson is momentarily exuberant at the thought that spring has arrived, but then turns back to the business of his stocks and his scrutiny of his face in the mirror. Reassured that he is the picture of health, Mr. Nilson dons his frock….

Analysis

The story is told from the perspective of a third person omniscient narrator that means that the reader is privy to the thoughts and motivations of the main character, without that character revealing them himself. By the author’s use of this perspective, the reader understands Mr. Nilson’s flood of feelings about the spring morning, as well as his discomfort around Mr. Tandram. A basic third person narrator would be able to comment on the actions and descriptions of the scene, not the internal thoughts and emotions. The blackbird plays an important role because of its mystical symbolism of both fear and promise. The blackbird lures both men to the Japanese Quince tree to revel in its beauty, but the presence of the other man is uncomfortable for both. They fear the proximity and the intimate setting.

Characters

Mr. Nilson “The Japanese Quince,”_ by some definitions, is a character sketch of Mr. Nilson. In a brief scene, Galsworthy paints a fairly complete portrait of a well-to-do man who is out of touch with himself and others. His wealth and class is established in the first sentence: He is ‘well known in the City “-the financial center of London-and though he right away notices the spring morning, he prefers to contemplate the price of Tintos-stock shares. While looking in an ivory-backed mirror, he is described physically as exhibiting “a reassuring appearance of good health,”‘ despite the aching feeling beneath his fifth rib. His life is rigid and ordered, a fact that can be deduced from the striking of the cuckoo clock that tells him he has exactly a half-hour to breakfast. When he goes…..

Themes

Alienation : Mr. Nilson is alienated from both nature and humankind. Although he praises himself for taking a walk in the square on a beautiful morning, he takes his newspaper with him. Still, the strange sensation does not abate, and he suspects it might be caused by something he ate. Upon encountering the quince tree, his first instinct is to find out exactly what species it is, rather than simply enjoy the flowers. Towards the end of the story, when the blackbird resumes its singing, “that queer sensation, that choky feeling in his throat” returns, further underscoring his alienation from nature. Related to Mr. Nilson’s alienation from nature is the alienation he feels from humankind, which is demonstrated by his stilted exchange with Mr. Tandram. Though they have been next-door neighbors for five years, they have…..


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