Thesis: Narrow Road to the Interior

Sample Thesis Paper

The Narrow Road to the Interior has indeed been written in a beautiful poetic-prose style, encapsulating Bashō’s delicate haiku verses with his growing insight of himself and his surroundings.  But as an autobiographical travelogue, the book goes beyond the journey of a poet.In fact, in Oku no Hosomichi, we do not come across Matsuo Bashō, the celebrated poet, but the persona of Matsuo Bashō, the man.  To understand the persona that Bashō has beautifully created for himself in his magnum opus, we need to understand his emotional state of mind.

While the undertaking of this journey had been inspired by the desire to see places that poets of the yore, especially the famous Buddhist poet-monk Saigyo, had written about, it was also because of his increasingly restless spirit.  Unable to find peace in Edo, Bashō had sought and had subsequently found it in his wanderings in the countryside.  Aware of the danger of roaming bands of bandits, he still felt stirred by the “sight of a solitary cloud drifting with the wind,” further writing that his thoughts were no longer his to control, as the spirits of the road beckoned and he could do no work at all.

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