Please answer either one of the following two questions in approximately 1100-1400 words.
In both Old Capital and A Personal Matter, the birth of unusual children (twins in one case, a physical deformity in the other) causes shame, abandonment (or the attempt at such), or adoption. The parent-child bond could, in fact, be considered the central thread of each novel. Compare these familial relationships (Takichiro, Shige, and Chieko, and Bird, his wife, and the baby [Kikuhiko]), especially in terms of how these parents come to accept and to cherish their children.
In A Personal Matter, Bird seeks sexual and emotional solace from Himiko in dealing with his despair, while in Old Capital, Takichiro finds relief from his existential and professional frustrations by visiting and flirting with geisha and maiko. Do you see parallels in both men’s wives, especially their tolerance for their respective husbands neglect? Does the quiet strength and perspicacity of these two women ultimately prove decisive to their husbands happiness?