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Hadassah McGill Professor Camargo English 2100 14 March 2013 Chteau des Hommes Moissonns (Fortress of Harvested Men)

Wine, is a short story written by Japanese novelist Hayashi Mariko in 1985, in which the protagonist uses the rich quality of wine selection to evaluate her options in the male counterpart or recipient for the wine. There is a symbolic relationship between how women choose men in relation to both their taste in expensive things and equally who they deem most appropriate/qualified to share it with or who they feel is the most excellent recipient to present the most precious gift to such as themselves (i.e. their bodies, their virginity, their hearts and most intimate experiences). In this short story, a bottle of wine is the symbol used to spark her journey to find the perfect man/recipient. The protagonist staggers over the tough decision of which man seems most befit to receive her most expensive wine as a gift. The symbolic relationship between the wine and her choice of recipient speaks a lot about the decisions many women make in choosing relationships, such as life partners as well as friendships, that will last and age gracefully over time, like a bottle of rich, flavorful, and expensive wine. In many instances, when women are faced with the task of deciding or selecting a particular person to share or experience something with, they usually have standards that are put in place to help weed through all the selections until the perfect

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match is found. The same type of selection process is seen when the protagonist, Ms. Sone, explores her potential male recipients of a bottle of wine. Throughout the story there are strong relations to the way she goes about weeding through her acquaintances to find the near perfect male who would appreciate her most precious gift of wine. Ms. Sone, a Japanese journalist travels to Canada for work. On her journey, she is taken to the most exquisite wine cellar. Knowing very little, if nothing, about wine she allows her pride to consume her as she proceeds to buy a bottle. She is disgruntled and insulted with the first option offered to her costing $10 (about 2,000 Yen). She wondered if she looked that young and impoverished for them to mock [her] wit h their talk of a two-thousand-yen bottle of wine. Even in Japan [she] drink[s] wine a bit more expensive than that (Mariko 617). The final selection offered to her is what Nicole, the tour guide, mistakes as a $45 bottle of wine, but instead is really $145. She ultimately decided to bear the heavy expense rather than submit to the humiliation of explaining what had happened (Mariko 618). Ms. Sone began to care for the wine as if it were a precious baby or expensive china and she mirrored the actions of those oenophiles and sommeliers she had previously scorned for having a similar passion for wine. Upon her return to Japan she promised her traveling companion, Omura, that she would call in when she opened the bottle, which she knew instinctively that she would not do that due to the fact that she was going to give to someone as a gift. She was stumped about what to do with the wine and since she wasnt much of a drinker, the decision was made to give the wine to a man who was most deserving and who would appreciate the rich quality of the gift the most. Ms. Sone automatically ruled out

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her boyfriend, Kunihiko, saying that it would definitely be a waste. How could a child like him possibly understand wine? (Mariko 619). Furthermore, she exclaimed that that would be casting pearls to swine (Mariko 619). Instead she gave him at t-shirt and a photo album. The religious allusion to the Bible casting pearls to swine comes from Matthews 7:6 in which the allegory means simply, "Do not persist in offering what is sacred or of value to those who have no appreciation for it, because your gift will not only become contaminated and be despised, your generous efforts could also be rebuffed and perhaps even openly attacked (Quinn). With this in mind she began to search for someone who [could] really appreciate her gift (Mariko 619). She thought about her acquaintances, among them was a rather famous illustrator named Kashima who knew the most about wine. The problem was that she did not know him well enough to present him with a bottle of wine as a gift. In Japan, the message is important just as much as the thought. Ms. Sone did not want to send the haughty snob the wrong impression with the wine. So she considered her other options. The next person she thought was an appropriate recipient was Morita, the assistant editor of the womens magazine for which she worked, who gave her much work as a journalist and had even vouched for her to go on the trip. Morita considered himself to be very knowledgeable about wine, when in fact made his over competence more recognizable because he didnt know as much as he thought. Ms. Sone reconsidered this option and figured that with all loud voiced men in addition to Moritas impatience, he was definitely not the one for her gift. If anything, [she] prefer[ed] men who are a little thick-skinned (Mariko 620). The pressure of this task was weighing down on Ms. Sone. She states, I had become malicious ever since I had bought the

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wine. I no longer wanted to give it to Morita. If possible, I thought, I wanted this wine to be drunk by a man who was close to perfect. But was there such a person in my life? (Mariko 622). She thought about the most reputable and respectable doctor at The Okamura Clinic, Dr. Okamura himself. Normally people treated by the head doctor at a clinic slip him tens of thousands of yen in addition to the usual fee as a token of their appreciation[and she] had never given him so much as a bottle of whiskey. I should give the wine to the doctor, I thought Dr. Okamura is a far more appropriate recipient for my wine than Morita. Not only was he a famous doctor, but he was also reputed to be a man of refined tastes (Mariko 622). Ms. Sone, prettied up the wine and herself as she dressed in a beautiful white linen dress to her appointment with Dr. Okamura. Instead of using the old paper bag that the wine was packed in from Canada, she went to a specialty shop and bought some high quality rice paper. [She] thought that a ribbon would be overdoing it, so [she] attached a light green seal instead (Mariko 622). After prettying up herself to deliver her gift in person, she felt as every girl does when they are excited about a man or what a man will think, say, or how he will act. She says, my heart raced when I imagined the expression on the doctors face when he received the wine. He would appreciate its value more than anyone (Mariko 622). By the time her rather quick appointment had ended, she had forgotten to give it to him and it also didnt have her name on it. She was told by the secretary that the gift for Dr. Okamura could sit with the other pile of gifts from other patients as their mid-year gift. With the same disgruntled and insulted feeling, Ms. Sone had rejected this idea saying

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that her gift was not something that could be reduced to that sort of formality [that her] wine had to be something special that existed only for its own sake [not to be] left amid this crowd of other things (Mariko 623). By the end of the short story, Ms. Sone has an epiphany as she ultimately never finds a recipient for her wine. Walking along in my white clothes, I felt ludicrous, as if I myself were a present wandering around in search of a recipient (Mariko 623). This story could be classified for its symbolism in the mate selection process because the protagonist selects and then deselects mates that she deems unfit to receive her most precious gift. This is a good example of how most people choose who they feel will be the most appropriate person to spend quality time with, share the most intimate things with, and eventually spend the rest of their lives with. According to Christine E. Stanik on her evaluation of romantic relationships, Choosing, attracting, and retaining a romantic partner are among the most compelling and complex tasks people face in their lives. We see this to be true through the symbolic complications Ms. Sone faces when deciding who to simply give a bottle of expensive wine as a gift. In this example, the bottle of wine is a symbolic representation of the woman or self (or possibly more specifically, the heart, vagina, or mind that a woman has to offer). Having to choose who is most appropriate to accept and appreciate the woman/wine is the most arduous and demanding task of selection that a woman will ever have to experience. Its an indirect correlation to a woman losing her virginity for the first time. This selection, experience, and emotional attachment will remain with her for a very long time (if selected properly). Having to choose a man who was close to perfect is a

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hard thing to do and Ms. Sone was faced with this difficult task as she sought out the perfect man. There is a significance to be noted about the careful selection of a male recipient or a mate. Because this example of the wine most closely depicts our own decision making process, I have found that Nickola Overall and his colleagues describe it best in their research on The Role of Ideal Standards in intimate relationships.

The most common starting pointis the proposition that individuals compare the qualities of some feature of the self with a preexisting standard. The discrepancy between perceptions and relevant standards then drives emotions and cognitions and motivates behavior designed to reduce or resolve the discrepancy relationships perceptions of the partner are constantly (often automatically) compared with the standards and needs of the perceiver if the partner consistently fails to meet specific standards or needs that are central to the individual, then such discrepancies are likely to be noticed, become difficult to rationalize away, become increasingly irksome, and finally motivate desires and strategies to change the partner and relationship in some way For example, if Mary perceives herself as attractive or ambitious, she is likely to set high standards for her partner on the same dimensions the Ideal Standards Model postulates the existence of three major dimensions that individuals consider when evaluating (and regulating) prospective or current partners: warmth/trustworthiness, attractiveness/vitality, and status/resources (Overall).

This research is significant because it displays some of the characteristics that motivate a decision in the selection process. Many of us have preexisting standards that guide our decisions and that develop from a variety of sources and experiences throughout our lives. We use these as preemptive forces to ensure the most qualified and quality selection, similar to the way connoisseurs of wine, oenophiles or sommeliers select the

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most qualified wine. It is imperative express again that if the partner consistently fails to meet specific standards or needs that are central to the individual, then such discrepancies are likely to be noticed[and] motivate desires and strategies to change the partner and relationship in some way (Overall). In our example, Ms. Sone wanted to find a man who was most deserving and who would appreciate the rich quality of the gift the most. When she could not find what her standards initially demanded she moved on to the next options. Though it is rarely verbally stated, women look to partners for qualities such as warmth/trustworthiness, attractiveness/vitality, and status/resources (Overall). A mans social status and education is an important factor in the mate selection process. Ms. Sone is adamant initially when she decides that the doctor will be the most worthy recipient of her wine. She begins to pretty up the wine with some high -quality rice paper from a specialty shop. She also attache[s] a light green seal. This is significant because with the other candidates, she was not going to go through the trouble of fancying up the bottle of wine. Nor did she think to wear a white linen dress with the expectation of delivering the wine in person to see the doctors expression. Furthermore, the symbolism of the color of the white dress represents innocence and virginity/purity. The symbolism of the color green represents fertility, self-respect, and growth. Both of these colors are symbolic to the idea that the wine was an extension of her. As Ms. Sone expresses, Walking along in my white clothes, I felt ludicrous, as if I myself were a present wandering around in search of a recipient (Mariko 623). This seems true considering she didnt feel that any of the four men proceeding Dr. Okamura were worthy recipients because it was inappropriate due to lack of a close relationship

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or because of their behavior, actions, attitude, or status. To put it in her own words, Ms. Sone wanted someone who [could] really appreciate her and her gift ( Mariko 619). Marikos exhibition of Wine is symbolic of the mate selection process that women face daily. There is deciding what ones standards will be, weeding through the bad and potential options, and finally selecting the option that most closely mirrors his/her needs. Or maybe, like Ms. Sone, there will never be a perfect selection and you will unexpectedly have to retain your gift for yourself.

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Bibliography Mariko, Hayashi. "Wine in Chapter 18- An Album of World Literature." The Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing. By Michael Meyer. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2005. N. pag. Print. Overall, Nickola C., Garth J.O. Fletcher, and Jeffry A. Simpson. "Regulation Processes In Intimate Relationships: The Role Of Ideal Standards." Journal Of Personality & Social Psychology 91.4 (2006): 662-685. Academic Search Complete. Web. 13 Mar. 2013. Stanik, Christine E. "Romantic relationships: An examination of partner evaluation, women's mate preferences, and dynamics in long-term relationships." Dissertation Abstracts International 70. (2010). PsycINFO. Web. 11 Mar. 2013. Quinn, Jon W. "Pearls and Pigs-Matthew 7:6." The Expository Files. Expository Files 7.4, Apr. 2000. Web. 12 Mar. 2013. <>.