Memoirs of a Geisha

Pdf fan
Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)
Mameha’s wealthy and aristocratic patron who bids against Dr. Crab for Sayuri’s virginity. A drunk and an uncaring man, he forces Sayuri to undress in front of him so that he can pleasure himself while looking at her in the mirror. He kills himself out of fear that the Americans will win the war and take away his landholdings and title.

The Baron Quotes in Memoirs of a Geisha

The Memoirs of a Geisha quotes below are all either spoken by The Baron or refer to The Baron . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of Memoirs of a Geisha published in 1999.
Chapter 15 Quotes

I was hardly worthy of these surroundings. And then I became aware of all the magnificent silk wrapped about my body, and had the feeling I might drown in beauty. At that moment, beauty itself struck me as a kind of painful melancholy.

Related Characters: Sayuri Nitta / Chiyo Sakamoto (speaker), Mameha , The Baron
Page Number: 187
Explanation and Analysis:

As Sayuri embarks on her career as a geisha, she finds it impossible to imagine herself even attaining much success: when she and Mameha entertain an important client like the Baron, who's seated next to her in the scene, she finds herself feeling insecure and childish. She's highly conscious of the layers of clothing and makeup adorning her body, and feels that she's never be able to live up to the standard of the other geishas.

For the time being, it's not so easy for Sayuri to adjust to her new life: she remembers her old life too vividly, and feels the contrast her current beauty and her previous sadness. This passage, then, makes another strong connection between beauty and suffering. Sayuri doesn't feel that she deserves all this beauty, and her self-doubts, a "kind of painful melancholy," return.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Memoirs of a Geisha quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 22 Quotes

I would gladly have exchanged the robe the Baron was offering me for some way out of the situation. But he was a man with so much authority that even Mameha couldn't disobey him. If she had no way of refusing his wishes, how could I?... I suppose I finally came to the conclusion that I had no choice but to obey him and pay the consequences, whatever they might be. I lowered my eyes to the mats in shame; and in this same dreamlike state I'd been feeling all along, I became aware of the Baron taking my hand and guiding me through the corridors toward the back of his house.

Related Characters: Sayuri Nitta / Chiyo Sakamoto (speaker), Mameha , The Baron
Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, the Baron--one of Sayuri's clients--takes Sayuri to his room. Inside, the Baron seems to be preparing to rape or assault Sayuri--an event that, in theory, isn't supposed to happen to geishas like Sayuri, but sometimes does. The Baron asks Sayuri to remove her clothing in order to try on the beautiful kimono he's bought her as a gift--clearly just an invitation for Sayuri to undress in front of him.

The passage shows the darker underside of the geisha world. Although geisha are cultured, sophisticated women who entertain their clients with song and conversation, they can also be sex workers (at least Golden describes it). A man like the Baron is so powerful that he can do whatever he wants with Sayuri--and he can do so because Sayuri, for all her training, is still a sexual object, purchased and traded between powerful men.

Get the entire Memoirs of a Geisha LitChart as a printable PDF.
Memoirs of a geisha.pdf.medium

The Baron Character Timeline in Memoirs of a Geisha

The timeline below shows where the character The Baron appears in Memoirs of a Geisha. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 15
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth  Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...apartment immediately. At the apartment, Mameha says that her danna, a man she calls the Baron, has arrived today from Tokyo. Mameha wants him to meet Sayuri. Mameha leads her to... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth  Theme Icon
The Baron, Mameha, and Sayuri sit together, but the Baron and Mameha do all the talking. Feeling... (full context)
Chapter 21
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...rehearsals for the dance performance when Mameha comes up to her. Mameha says that the Baron is throwing a party in honor of the famous kimono maker Arashino, who is a... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth  Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
At the Baron’s luxurious house later that week, Mameha and Sayuri serve tea to the Baron’s guests around... (full context)
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth  Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Overhearing the conversation, the Baron says that he would pay large sums of money just to watch Sayuri take a... (full context)
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...Nobu stands in front of a glass case displaying an antique sword. Nobu says the Baron is an antique just like this sword. Sayuri can tell that Nobu thinks the Baron... (full context)
Sex and Love Theme Icon
By the time the men start to eat dinner, the Baron is so drunk that his eyes slosh around in his head. During dinner, the Doctor... (full context)
Sex and Love Theme Icon
After dinner, the Baron suggests that Mameha wear one of Arashino’s kimonos to the Baron’s party next week. Mameha... (full context)
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...served on the table.” Sayuri knows perfectly well that she is talking specifically about the Baron. (full context)
Chapter 22
Growing Up Theme Icon
On the day of the Baron’s party, Sayuri waits for the train. The party is at the Baron’s estate in Hakone,... (full context)
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...Mr. Itchoda arrive in Hakone, a car picks her up and takes her to the Baron’s estate. The Baron comes over to her and says she should walk around the property... (full context)
Sex and Love Theme Icon
As Sayuri and the Chairman approach the Chairman’s car, they run into the Baron. The Chairman gives the Baron the gift. The Baron says the box might even be... (full context)
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...of warning. After all the guests leave the party, Sayuri goes to wait for the Baron in the entrance hall of his house. The Baron appears in a thin cotton dressing... (full context)
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
The Baron tells Sayuri to follow him to his room so that he can give her the... (full context)
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Sayuri stands in front of a mirror as the Baron takes off her under-robe. She tries to push his hands away, but he takes off... (full context)
Sex and Love Theme Icon
The Baron soon returns with a handkerchief – bearing his monogrammed initials – for her tears. He... (full context)
Sex and Love Theme Icon
...Itchoda sees Sayuri’s poorly tied kimono and messed up makeup. He knowingly asks if the Baron undressed her and looked at her in the mirror without touching her or lying on... (full context)
Chapter 23
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...apartment. Sayuri assumes that Mr. Itchoda told Mameha about what happened between Sayuri and the Baron, but if he did, Mameha shows no indication that it bothered her. Excited for Sayuri’s... (full context)
Chapter 24
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...understand that the bidding went so high because Dr. Crab ended up bidding against the Baron and not Nobu. Nobu did bid in the beginning, but soon dropped out when the... (full context)
Chapter 25
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth  Theme Icon
Sex and Love Theme Icon
Tradition, Ritual, and Gender Theme Icon
...entitled to ask for more. When Sayuri asks if Mameha has “strong feelings” for the Baron, Mameha simply responds that their relationship is convenient for him and beneficial for her. (full context)
Chapter 29
Destiny vs. Self-Determination Theme Icon
Beauty, Artifice, and Truth  Theme Icon
...or become prostitutes. Sayuri learns that Korin died in a factory firebombing, and that the Baron killed himself for fear that the Americans would invade and take away his aristocratic title... (full context)