The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen
The Invisible Japanese Gentlemen Graham Greene Pre-Reading Discussion • Do you have the experience of looking at something but not seeing it? What might affect people’s seeing power? • What do you make of the title? In what way can people be invisible? P1: a long shot • How did the author describe the Japanese gentlemen? List all the details that he had noticed. • Do you think a group of Japanese people dining in a British restaurant is likely to arouse much curiosity? How do you interpret the girl’s indifference? P2: a close shot • What do you know about the girl from the author’s description? • What does the incongruity of her appearance and way of speaking tell? • Can you speculate on the background of the girl? P3-5: her companion • How did the author describe the man? Did he give him as much attention as he gave the girl? • Why did the author revert to the Japanese gentlemen while he was observing the girl and her partner? • Can you speculate on the background of the man? P6-25: a rising star and her dumb partner • Why was the author shocked when he found the girl was of his own profession? What qualities do you think are necessary for a writer? Did the girl have them? • How well did the couple get along? Did their relationship promise a happy marriage? • In what way did the new title differ from the previous one? What did this change mean? P26-27: insight of a hardened writer • Why was the author pessimistic about the girl’s career? Why did he feel it a humiliating thought? • What insight did the author provide about the nature of a writer’s profession? What did the girl expect of her career? Why was she approved by her publisher but disapproved by the author? P28-54: ambition and conceit • What kind of story do you think will be produced in a popular resort like St. Tropez? Why did the girl choose there as the venue for her next book? • Who seemed to have the upper hand in the relationship? What do you think would happen to the couple after this date? P55-57: what a future! • Why did the author think both of them had made a wrong decision about their profession? What advice would he offer them? Does his advice sound sensible? • What function did the Japanese gentlemen serve in the whole conversation? Conclusion • Power of observation; relativity and selective perception; • Men and women; apparent harmony and deep incongruity; dominance and submission; • The profession of a writer; sand and gold; • Euro-centrism; • Cultural differences in the conversational style.