“With the crown of snow, there cometh wisdom!” The province, given orders to abandon those of old age, and put them to death, had a kindly farmer who saw the unselfish love his aged mother provided him, who couldn’t bear the thought to leave his mother. Not only did his mother assist him so he could have a safe trip back from the mountain of “abandoning of the aged”, she assisted the people of her province. As the truth of the wisdom given proved against the governor and allowed him to change his mind.
In the story The Aged Mother by Matsuo Basho, the author believes that in many occasions, the old is the one who fills us with wisdom, strength, and knowledge. Throughout the story, the author mentions multiple examples of the farmer’s mother guiding and assisting the farmer, as it not only benefited him, but all of Shining.
As for one, the farmer’s mother still guided her son, as he carried her up the mountain Obatsuyama to her death, as “… her loving heart grew anxious. Her son did not know the mountain’s many paths and his return might be one of danger… stretched forth her hand and snapping the twigs from brushes as they passed…” (Basho pg 4). “‘The mountain road is full of dangers. LOOK carefully and follow the path which holds the piles of twigs. They will guide you to the familiar path farther down’” (Basho pg 5) The aged mother of the farmer assisted him unselfishly despite the fact he was carrying her to her death. Her son, emotional from her actions, instantly regretted what he has done, and brought his mother back, where he hid her, scared the governor would take her.
Soon, the young citizens have come to trouble, as the governor unreasonably demanded a rope of ashes was to be presented to him. As, in paragraph 7, with great distress, the son whispers the news to his mother. “’I will think. I will think’ On the second day she told him what to do. ‘Make rope of twisted straw,’ she said. ‘Then stretch it upon a row of flat stones and burn it on a windless night.’ He called the people together and did as she said and when the blaze died down… lay a rope of ashes.” Not only showing care to her son now, the farmer’s aged mother assisted the people of her province when they have come to a time of trouble. “Distress” to the citizens, as they were unable to find a solution to the unreasonable demand.
The aged mother of the farmer presented her wisdom multiple times, she proved her worth as the governor was told the truth of where the wisdom of the young actually came from, the hidden elder. He meditated in silence before he came to conclusion, stating “‘Shining needs more than strength of youth’” (Basho pg 8) The governor has realized that the community needs more than the strength and wisdom of the youth. The author also chose to include the famous quote, “‘with the crown of snow, there cometh wisdom!’” (Basho pg 8). Meaning, a person gains wisdom as he or she ages. Choosing this quote, to teach readers that the aged may sometimes be stronger, more knowledgeable than the youth, as this is the saying the governor recalled when he realized the truth behind the wisdom, knowledge, and strength the youth showed.
The Aged Mother, the beautiful story teaching readers that sometimes, only the aged will have the solutions to our problems. Though sometimes only in these times, will their knowledge and strength show, and shine brighter in our eyes, allowing us to realize where a lot of our wisdom comes from.
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