Shōnagon is Murasaki's nurse. Even as the nun and the bishop turn Genji away from pursuing Murasaki, Shōnagon shows herself to be far more willing to entertain Genji's interest in her young charge. When Genji decides to kidnap Murasaki, Shōnagon goes with her, reasoning that it's more important to remain loyal to Murasaki than it is to be loyal to Prince Hyōbu. Shōnagon spends much of her time worrying that Genji isn't truly serious about wanting to make Murasaki a wife someday, and she's thrilled when she discovers that Genji followed through, despite Murasaki's crushing sense of betrayal.
Shōnagon Character Timeline in The Tale of Genji
The timeline below shows where the character Shōnagon appears in The Tale of Genji. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...as she's immature for her age. The girl's mother apparently died, and the nun and Shōnagon exchange poems hoping that the "tender grasses" will be properly nurtured. The bishop interrupts and... (full context)
...bishop writes that she has died. Genji knows Murasaki must be very sad and sends Shōnagon a sympathetic letter. Several days later, Genji learns that Shōnagon and Murasaki are back in... (full context)
...calls Murasaki to him to sleep on his lap. Murasaki is embarrassed and shy, but Shōnagon pushes her forward. Murasaki pulls away from Genji and Genji slips behind the screens with... (full context)
...He's aghast to find her gone and her serving ladies can only tell him that Shōnagon spirited her away. He writes to the bishop and receives no information there. Murasaki continues... (full context)
An Autumn Excursion