In The Sound of Waves, hornets symbolize the ways in which those who fail to learn the lessons of nature will always suffer. When the brash, narcissistic, and jealous Yasuo begins to fear that he will lose Hatsue, whose hand he hoped to win, to the poor fisherman Shinji, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Yasuo confronts Hatsue one night as she gathers water at the well near her father’s house and attempts to rape her. As Yasuo tries to commit this rape, however, he finds that he cannot do it because he is being stung by many hornets on various vulnerable parts of his body. As the hornets appear to smite Yasuo, Mishima hammers home the fact that Yasuo has failed to respect nature. The hornets do not show up again later in the novel, yet their brief and brutal appearance underscores nature’s swift capacity for vengeance.
Hornets Quotes in The Sound of Waves
All the time the luminous watch of which Yasuo was so proud, strapped above the hand with which he was holding onto the branch of the beech tree, was giving off its phosphorescent glow, faintly but distinctly ticking away the seconds. This aroused a swarm of hornets in the nest fastened to this same branch and greatly excited their curiosity.