The Spider’s Web


Lost Chance

Buddha was strolling around the lotus pond in paradise in early morn. He looked at what was below the beautiful and perfect paradise, the fiery and merciless depths of hell. He saw a man named Kandata. Kandata was a thief, yet, because of a small act of kindness to a spider, Buddha considered saving him. Buddha saw a spider who was weaving a silvery web and picked it up gently, then began to let it down towards hell. Kandata, floating in the Lake of Blood, saw the spider’s silvery thread. He grabbed with all his might, hoping not and not for it to break. He climbed it with the thought that he might arrive paradise. After a while, he stopped climbing and noticed some men following him from behind. With the fear that the web might break, he told them that the web was for him. That moment, the web broke, sending Kandata back down to the Lake of Blood. Buddha was saddened about what at happened because of Kandata’s heartlessness. But, innocent golden stamens swayed gently about the feet of the lord and its fragrance filling the air, as always. It was perhaps noon in paradise.

Buddha is shown to be a very forgiving and merciful god. He considered bringing Kandata to paradise, even though Kandata was a great thief, all because of one good deed. The spider’s web was a way for Kandata to be able to go to paradise. From paradies to the depths of hell, the spider traveled. When Kandata saw this, he regained hope of being in paradise. He tried to climb it with all his strength. He grew tired of climbing the web and decided to take a rest. Looking below, he saw some souls trying to climb it as well. He became scared of the possibility that the web might break. He did what he thought was best for him. He told the others to stop climbing. This showed that he was selfish, wanting only to save himself, and Heartless, not caring about the other souls and what would happen to them. The web of hope was unexpectedly cut and Kandata fell back to the Lake of Blood.  Buddha, saddened and disappointed by all that had happened, couldn’t do anything but continue life in paradise.

I did not quickly recognize the theme in this story. I had to re-read it a few times to learn it. Somehow, there are many views/angles that could affect the theme. But then,  I realized the theme that fits the story appropriately is “Heartlessness and Selfishness will destroy every opportunity and hope you get to change and turn your life around.”The theme of the story is “Heartlessness and Selfishness will destroy every opportunity and hope you get to change and turn your life around.” It is suitable for the story since, basically, the web, which was Kandata’s only hope, broke due to his selfishness and heartlessness, causing him to fail in his goal of reaching paradise.

The silvery thread of the spider served as Kandata’s hope and chance of going to paradise. He climbed this, hoping for it to be strong enough to last until he had arrived paradise. When other people began to climb this, he grew afraid of the thought that the rope might break so he told the others to let go. Because of this act of heartlessness and selfishness, the web broke. I think if he just let them climb the web with him, it wouldn’t have broken.

If Buddha didn’t consider Kandata’s good deed, then he wouldn’t have given the spider and it’s web down to hell to be a way for Kandata to climb up to paradise. If Kandata only thought of others rather than just thinking about himself, then he could’ve arrived to paradise with other lost souls that wanted an escape from hell.

The theme of this story is related to present day situations by people who only think about themselves during bad situations, but end up failing. They should think about the whole, not only themselves. They should also care about the people around them because the people affect them and what happens to them in one way or another. They shouldn’t be selfish and heartless. No one could live successfully thinking only about themselves because all of the people around you affect your life. The events happening around you affect what people would think of you, even though you are not directly involved. If you do something bad/selfish to your neighbor, it will somehow comeback to you and the community is a whole body, if one part fails to succeed, the whole body suffers.

The literary techniques or devices employed by the author are Simile, Flashback Local Color, and Allegory. Simile is the comparison of 2 objects using words like “like” and “as”, Flashback is the recalling of a memory that happened in the past, Local Color is a very detailed description of the setting/s of the story, enough to be imagined by the reader, and Allegory is device in which characters or events represent or symbolize ideas and concepts.

These are examples of the given literary devices that are in the story.“…And in the Lake of Blood, even the great thief Kandata could only writhe and choke like a dying frog.” Is an example of a simile in the story. The story also contains a flashback of when Kandata didn’t crush the little spider in the forest. It also has very detailed settings that I could imagine in my mind, so I could say that the author also used Local Color. And lastly, the whole story is an Allegory because the spider web represents hope/chance/opportunity, Kandata represents a very lost soul/person and Buddha represents someone who is willing to forgive.

The effect of literary techniques or devices on the creation of the story’s meaning is that it emphasizes and strengthens the theme. It adds details and knowledge to the story. It brings colors and images to your brain while reading the story. It causes you to be able to imagine what is happening in the story. It somehow lets you feel what the characters in the story feel. Basically, it brings life to the whole story.

Ryūnosuke Akutagawa was born on March 1, 1892. He was a Japanese writer active in the Taishō period in Japan. He is regarded as the “Father of the Japanese short story” and Japan’s premier literary award, the Akutagawa Prize, is named for him. He committed suicide at age of 35 through an overdose of barbital at  July 24, 1927.


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