The Wise Old Woman


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Title: “The Wise Old Woman” Author: Yoshiko Uchida (Japanese Fable)

Main Characters: Setting: Point of View:

Young Lord: antagonist; cruel time: Many years ago  1st person

Young Farmer: protagonist place: ancient village in  3rd person limited

Old mother: protagonist; very wise Western Japan  3rd person omniscient Lord Higa: antagonist; Genre: Japanese gives hard tasks folk tale

Main Conflict: Young Lord wants all people over 71 to be taken to the mountains

and left to die.

Main Conflict Develops (complications):

  1. Villagers who disobey the unfair law are terribly punished so they take their

elders to the mountain to die.

  1. Young farmer takes mother to the mountain; can’t leave her; hides her in house

for two years.

  1. Lord Higa threatens to conquer village; gives them three impossible tasks.

4. None of the village people can figure out how to complete any of the tasks.

  1. 5. Mother of young farmer solves all three tasks: soak ropes in salt water and

then burn them (rope of ash); tie silk to ant and put sugar at other hole(twisted

log); and make paper drum and then put a bee inside it (drum that beats itself)

Climax of main conflict: Young Lord challenges farmer asking, “who helped

you?” The son confesses that his mother did.

Resolution of main conflict:

Young Lord now knows he was wrong, and

that old people are wise

and useful

The story ends  happily  unhappily ever after because: The Young Lord vows to treat old people with respect; Lord Higa promises to leave the village alone; the son and his mother live happily ever after.



rope, log, drum



old age; death

IRONY:  verbal  situation  dramatic

Young Lord thinks the old have no value but old woman saves the village



Memorable IMAGE or QUOTE: Draw your own!



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