Chief's Delight: a Creative Analysis of the Character of the Chief in the Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

Zachary Byrne
World Literature #2
Mrs. R. Tisdale
IB English V
4 February, 2010
Chief’s Delight: A Creative Analysis of the Character of the Chief in
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, by Yukio Mishima, is the story of Ryuji, a sailor who meets a woman, Fusako, and her son, Noboru, in the port town of Yokohama. During Ryuji’s stay, he develops a tentative, romantic relationship with Fusako. Noboru, a boy of around 13 years old, has taken to spying on their relationship, watching the couple interact. He even watches them fornicate through a hole in the wall. Noboru idolizes Ryuji for the first part of the story, telling his gang of friends all about Ryuji’s actions. The gang is a group of boys from middle class families who come together to learn what they can about life from the Chief, the self appointed leader of the group. Their philosophy on life is a bleak one, promoting a total lack of emotion or compassion for any living thing. At first, they are all thrilled about the sailor, Ryuji, but once Ryuji’s originally unapparent, conflicting emotions begin to show, the gang’s feelings quickly turn to those of contempt. Noboru, unhappy to see his hero falling from the Chief’s good grace, is delighted when Ryuji must cast off again and leave town.
Ryuji’s fatal mistake is his return to Yokohama, and in turn, Fusako. Noboru is furious that Ryuji would sink to such a level and come crawling back to his mother. When Ryuji decides to stay in Yokohama and marry Fusako, Noboru is furious. The gang, especially the Chief, is sickened by this pitiful display of emotion. The Chief offers one way to save Ryuji from becoming “the worst thing on the face of this earth, a father”, death (Mishima 162). The gang makes all the arrangements for the murder of Ryuji. The next day, Noboru tricks Ryuji into coming with the gang on an outing. Thinking it is the fatherly thing to do; Ryuji accepts and goes...