In his brief story, “The Bell Cricket and the Grasshopper,” the narrator presents a word of wisdom to immature and innocent children through depicting a narrator as an over viewer of the actions practiced by these children. The narrator encounters a group of twenty children at night hunting for insects where each carried a simple homemade self-designed lantern that were made from empty cartons). As the watched the children, one boy (Fujio) claimed to have found a grasshopper and stirs up excitement with the other children inquiring who wants the grasshopper. A girl by name Kiyoko asks for it, and the boy stretches into the bush and grabs hold of it but when he revealed it out and gives it to Kiyoko, she claimed that it was a bell cricket. However, when they both bent closer to see at it with the help of their lanterns, the boy’s name, which was part of the stencil on the lantern, was projected onto the girl’s breast while the girl’s name that was also part of the stencil of her lantern was projected onto the boy’s wrist. Nevertheless, this paper pays high attention to the critics of the main ideas or lessons that the author strives to portray to the readers of this story in their lives.
The manner in which the narrator glances at the children is outlined by the author as a way of relieving himself his own life. His comments show that he had once in his life made wrong decisions that were contributed by his immaturity and thus warns the immature and innocent children from experiencing the same in their lives. For example, the author outlines that after the narrator learns of his past mistakes, he made comments that were unknown to the children warning the latter on what he sees from the outside. However, he fails to understand that almost all children at this nature (immature and innocent) are bound to experience these emotions or make these wrong decisions in order to become mature.
Moreover, the story distinguishing true love from fake ones from the variety of women that we encounter in this world. Real love is special and rare to find while fake love is ordinary and cheap to experience. Similarly, the narrator depicts grasshoppers and bell crickets as metaphors where the former represents fake love while the latter true love that one must encounter in life. The two insects are alike in terms of beauty, colour, size among other features but their character and interest differentiates them. Similarly, finding true love in life requires an individual to see beyond physical appearances, wealth and power that deceive people from finding and securing special people. Overcoming these physical factors help people to find their special ones whom they can deeply love and happily live with them. However, the narrator warns that men are deemed to mistake between grasshoppers (fake love) and bell crickets (true love) since are highly deceived by their physical beauty. In contrast, the narrator outlines that there is much more than what meet the eyes that need consideration in order to distinguish the bell crickets from the grasshoppers, and this distinction would prevent men from experiencing heartbreaks and disappointments. Consecutively, the presence of lanterns that produced light in the midst of darkness gives hope to the children. It is, therefore, capable of getting true love or the desires that people wish in the midst of challenges, fake love or obstacles in this life.
In addition, the story bestows hopes to the frustrated and heartbroken individuals in this world. For example, the author restores hope to those who have negative experiences and are in danger of falling into the same cycles of frustrations through assuring them that true love still exists. Chances are they have already met a bell cricket in the distant past or had categorized someone special in their life as a mere grasshopper when, in fact, there’s more to her than meets the eye. The narrator witnesses what the children do not know: “The boy’s lantern, which he held up alongside the girl’s insect cage, inscribed his name, cut out in the green papered aperture, onto her white cotton kimono. The girl’s lantern, which dangled loosely from her wrist, did not project its pattern so clearly, but still one could make out, in a trembling patch of red on the boy’s waist, the name ‘Kiyoko.”
Moreover, as the narrator observes the children at a distance, he spoke out of his own experience as though he was preparing the children for a foreshadow that they could not see due to their naivety. The narrator proceeds to explain that the children may have had what they were longing for long durations. “Even if you have the wit to look by yourself in a bush away from the other children, there are not many bell crickets in the world. Probably you will find a girl like a grasshopper whom you think is a bell cricket” (Mays 268). The narrator raises an alarm to these children so that they would not be frustrated, but admits that it was something they must learn through experience.
Do not take anything for granted. Things in this life do not always look as it appears. At the end of the story, the narrator’s comments are directed to the children for taking themselves as failures. However, he gives a final warning to them on what they should look out for. “And finally, to your clouded, wounded heart, even a true bell cricket will seem like a grasshopper. Should that day come, when it seems to you that the world is only full of grasshoppers, I will think it a pity that you have no way to remember tonight’s play of light” (Mays 268). The narrator’s words of wisdom to the children encompassed warning them not to take anything for granted. Nevertheless, if the children takes certain circumstances for granted, they may miss golden opportunities that they encounter in their lives. Additionally, even though the narrator strives to save the children from heart breaks, they must learn to live their life, and the only way to achieve it is by striving to live and learn.
It is, therefore, evident that there exist numerous grasshoppers and few bell crickets in the contemporary world. However, each is deemed to distinguish his or her bell cricket in the midst of numerous grasshoppers during their lives. Though there is a likelihood of an individual meeting his or her bell cricket during their pasts, or meeting and categorizing the latter as obvious grasshoppers, there is still hope of getting backing to the same bell cricket especially after realizing the mistakes they committed. Moreover, besides the physical appearances such as beauty and wealth there are much more inner factors such as character and the heart`s desires that need to be considered in distinguishing ones true love from the world full fake love.
Riggs, Thomas. Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Detroit [u.a.: St. James Press, 1998. Print.
Weston, Mark. Giants of Japan: The Lives of Japan’s Greatest Men and Women. New York, NY [u.a.: Kodansha International, 1999. Print.p. 289
The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket by Yasunari Kawabata