Which ones do you not?

A. Read: 1. “Japan” by Caitlin Doughty
2. Also, read one of the two following fiction readings (short stories):
“Mono No Aware” by Ken Liu
Or
“The Sea of Trees” by Rachel Swirsky
B. Answer the following questions. Make sure you include support for your ideas and opinions: direct quotations and in-text citations are required for at least some of your responses. Usually, we don’t include artificially-generated page numbers in electronic source citations.
You cannot create a Works Cited page for this assignment because you do not have all of the citation information.
Do not use any secondary (research) sources for your work, with exception to the questions that ask you to do so. Responses should express your own opinion and analysis.
1. Which character(s) do you like and/ or relate to in “Mono no Aware” or “The Sea of Trees”? Which ones do you not? Describe how the story you have selected (“Mono no Aware” or “The Sea of Trees”) begins. What is confusing to you? What is intriguing? Compare the way the story opens to the development of the story itself. What clues do you get along the way about what is important in the story?
2. Either answer A or B, depending on which short story you chose to read.
A. Although “Mono No Aware” is classified as science fiction/fantasy, it contains a number of elements and references to the real world. It also contains elements that, while fiction, are possible; these elements/things/ways of living might actually happen in our near future. Discuss what you think is real, possible, and impossible in the story: find at least one example of each. Explain why you chose each example.
B. Aokigahara (青木ヶ原), also known as the Sea of Trees (樹海, Jukai), is a real place in Japan. Some of the details in the short story, though, have been fictionalized. Find any source that gives additional real-world information about this forest. Summarize what you find out (cite your source). Compare/contrast a couple of key details with information you take from the short story.
3. In the reading “Japan,” when the author and her guide go to Ruriden, what do they find? What is it like? Compare to how similar practices are handled in the United States.
4. Compare/contrast the views of death, love, family, and the afterlife in the two readings you read.
5. What appears to be each author’s perspective on the issues being written about in each of your two readings, and how can you tell/how do you know?
6. Apply all the parts of the rhetorical situation to an analysis of “Japan.” You did this kind of analysis for a different reading earlier in the course.

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