Study Guide

Heart of a Samurai Art and Culture

By Margi Preus

Art and Culture

For this book, it might not be a bad idea to substitute nature for culture. This is because art and aesthetic pleasure in Heart of a Samurai come from a deep appreciation and bond with nature and its rhythms. But it's not like the characters are a bunch of grungy tree-huggers. Instead, the book offers up a stereotypical view of Japanese aesthetics: an observation of and appreciation for fine, natural details. To this end, the things that are beautiful and cultured in this book tend to be small and/or subtle.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. Why is there such a focus on beauty in Manjiro's everyday scenery?
  2. Does culture come from nature or can you have culture without nature?
  3. What is the relationship between money and culture? Money and art?
  4. Who is considered cultured in this book and why?

Chew on This

Good artists need to have a fine-tuned relationship with nature.

This book argues that the Japanese approach to daily life and culture is way more beautiful than the American approach to daily life.

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