The Sound of Waves

by

Yukio Mishima

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The Lighthouse-keeper’s Wife Character Analysis

The lighthouse-keeper’s wife is a kind, warm, and chatty woman who is devoted to her family. Though she is occasionally sucked in by gossip, rumor, and any whiff of a scandal, she ultimately has a strong moral compass and a deep sense of responsibility to her community. The lighthouse-keeper and his wife both adore Shinji, who brings them fish every evening after coming in from the ocean as an attempt to repay them for doing him a large favor related to helping him graduate from high school on time. When Shinji is in trouble because of a rumor about him and Hatsue, the daughter of the wealthy and powerful Terukichi Miyata, the lighthouse-keeper’s wife learns that her daughter Chiyoko is responsible for the devastating rumor. The lighthouse-keeper’s wife then takes it upon herself to confront the intimidating Terukichi and repair the damage her daughter has done—in the process, she winds up involving many of the village women in a dialogue about the control Terukichi wields over their entire community. The lighthouse-keeper’s wife proves herself to be deeper and more thoughtful than she appears to be on the surface by resisting the undertow of gossip and rumor and pivoting to a focus on righting the wrongs in her community.

The Lighthouse-keeper’s Wife Quotes in The Sound of Waves

The The Sound of Waves quotes below are all either spoken by The Lighthouse-keeper’s Wife or refer to The Lighthouse-keeper’s Wife. 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:
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Sound of Waves published in 1994.
Chapter 15 Quotes

“When Shinji did that great thing at Okinawa—well, I changed my mind too and decided he was the one for my girl. The only thing that really counts . . .”

Here Terukichi raised his voice emphatically.

“The only thing that really counts in a man is his get-up-and-go. If he’s got get-up-and-go he’s a real man, and those are the kind of men we need here on Uta-jima.”

Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Lighthouse-keeper’s Wife Character Timeline in The Sound of Waves

The timeline below shows where the character The Lighthouse-keeper’s Wife appears in The Sound of Waves. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...he brings fish to the lighthouse, because he is indebted to the lighthouse-keeper and his wife. They helped pull some strings so that Shinji could graduate from school on time and... (full context)
Chapter 4
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...to the lighthouse, where she is due to attend etiquette classes given by the lighthouse-keeper’s wife. Shinji tells Hatsue that he will lead her down the mountain to the lighthouse. Hatsue... (full context)
Chapter 6
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
The lighthouse-keeper and his wife have taken Hatsue into their hearts as if she were their own child. They do... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
...even though no etiquette lesson is scheduled for the day. She visits with the lighthouse-keeper’s wife, who, much to Hatsue’s embarrassment, asks Hatsue about her romantic life. To change the subject,... (full context)
Chapter 15
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
The lighthouse-keeper and his wife, meanwhile, grow fretful when Chiyoko refuses to return to the island for the end of... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
On the way to Terukichi’s, the lighthouse-keeper’s wife spies Shinji’s mother doing laundry in the stream with some other diving women. Realizing how... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Class, Wealth, and Power Theme Icon
At the Miyata home, the lighthouse-keeper’s wife enters and finds Terukichi already descending the stairs. He greets her happily and asks what... (full context)
Chapter 16
Lessons from Nature Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...Shrine and then the lighthouse to announce their engagement and give thanks to the lighthouse-keeper’s wife. At the shrine, as Shinji and Hatsue stoop to pray, he realizes that he has... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Devotion Theme Icon
Gossip and Rumor Theme Icon
At the lighthouse, Shinji calls out to announce their presence. The lighthouse-keeper’s wife opens the door and excitedly invites Shinji and Hatsue in. She happily tells them that... (full context)