Identities and space
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In these two novels, identity is a personal way of feeling and reacting to cultural and physical landscapes. Aesthetic appreciation and emotional attachment to places have a prominent role in the construction of the adolescent self, while social and sexual pursuits are viewed as a threat to identity. Mishima’s work envisions contemporary Japan as a space threatened by novel values and customs. Pavese’s work describes a process of cultural change from a spatial perspective, rendering visible the relatedness of man with the environment. The protagonists of these two novels witness a transformation of their surroundings that affects their sense of belonging. The Golden Temple at Kyoto and the hills of the Piedmont are elements of space that bring cohesion to the narratives and account for the challenges of the rapid process of modernization that takes place in Italy and Japan during the first half of the twentieth century.
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