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The Story of the Aged Mother By: Matsuo Basho

Aimee Luisa S. Mangoroban II - Lead


Plot Summary The Story of the Aged Mother by Matsuo Basho is a story in which a son and his mothers pain in their battle against the decree of putting aged people to death. The story started at the foot of the mountain where a poor farmer lived with his aged mother. Their place was governed by an absolute leader who sent the decree of killing aged people in that place. That time, killing aged people was not common. When the poor farmer heard the decree he felt sorrow in his heart, since then he prepared an escape. Just as his work ended, he cooked food, wrapped it in a small piece of cloth and tied it in his neck together with cool and sweet water. Then, he carried his mother on his back and started walking towards the summit of Obatsayuma, the mountain of the abandoning of aged. On their way to the summit, the helpless mother noticed the dangerous path and thought that her son doesn't know the paths and might pass through danger so she reached for twigs, snapped them to pieces and quietly dropped them until they reached the summit. The poor farmer released his mother and created a comfortable cushion and said his farewell. Before he left her, she told him about the path she made, and then the farmer realized that they need to face the decree together so he carried his mother again on his back and stated walking back. When they arrived back, he told the emperor his story and the emperor listened to his story and abolished the decree.


Characters The characters in the story are the emperor who is a despotic leader. He is a round character and may be the antagonist in the story. He declared the decree of killing the aged people because he was a warrior he thought aged people were useless and cant be helpful to those who are still strong as him but in the end, he realized that those aged people are useful in their own ways and he also learned their importance to the kingdom. Another character in the story is the farmer who is the protagonist. He was the ever loving son of the aged mother in the story, he did not think of himself but instead, he thought of his mother who was in great danger of being killed innocently. He loved his mother very much that he did not think that it will be a great danger if he will go back down. And the aged mother who is the flat character in the story. She is one of the main characters in the story. She was the one who made the emperor changed his mind and helped her own son in returning without danger. She is the role model in the story who has the wisdom that brings to save her own self and others life from the decree that was made.


Conflict The conflict of the story was Man vs. Man because the only antagonist in the story was the emperor of Shinano who proclaimed a law to immediately kill all the aged people. The emperor was the one who wants the aged people to be killed because he thinks that aged people are already helpless and cant contribute to their place.


Point Of View The Point of View of the story was in the Third person Point of View because the author is the one who narrates the story, and she is not included in the characters of the story. It is written in the third person point of view because the author wrote freely.


Setting The story took place at the foot of a mountain somewhere in Shinano.


Theme The story is about a mothers love, its something that no one can explain because it is made with deep devotion, sacrifice, understanding and pain, the way that the aged mother made a way so that she can have assurance that her son can go home safely. She knew from the very start that she will be abandoned in the summit of the mountain but she understood that it was for her own good.


Literary Techniques The Literary Technique used in the story of the aged mother is realism because the situation in the story was once happened in the history of Japan, not by putting to death the aged people but abandoning them. It views the once history of a certain country and the simplicity of life. The story also contains lesson and the language used was simple and comprehensive.

The story of the aged mother is a folktale from Japan. It tells about how great the love of a mother for her child. It was shown on their situation when the emperor proclaimed a decree ordering that all the aged people should be put to death. The decree filled the heart of the poor farmer a great sorrow for he loves his mother that much. Instead of putting his mother to death in the hand of the cruel law he decided to give his mother a kind mode of death. He took his mother to the bare summit of Obatsayuma and planned to abandon her there. On their way to the summit of the mountain the heart of the loving mother grew concerned because she knew that her son will be in danger on his way back because he was not familiar to the paths. The aged mother broke the twigs and dropped it quietly on the road to serve as a guide on the way back of her son. The story shows us two important virtue- love and wisdom. Mothers love is nothing can be compared; it is pure and unselfish. Most of all serves as our courage, weakness and strength that guided us to walk through our journey called life.