In A Grove There are different types of points of view in fiction. In the story, “In A Grove” by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, a high police commissioner investigates a recent murder. The police commissioner gathers different testimonies from six different people. Each one of those testimonies has inconsistencies about the details of the murder. Different points of view were shown in the story. A woodcutter was first to be questioned. His testimony states that he found the dead body in the woods, about one hundred fifty meters off the Yamashina stage road.
The man died by a single sword-stroke to the chest. The body was lying on its back in a bluish silk kimono and a wrinkled head-dress of the Kyoto style. The blood was already dried up. The bamboo blades had fallen which resulted from a violent battle. He did not find a sword and horse but he found a rope at the foot of a cedar and a comb. The second person to give his testimony was a traveling Buddhist Priest. He says that he saw the dead man with a woman on horse-back, who was his wife, on the road from Sekiyama to Yamashina noon on the day before the murder.
He described the woman to be four feet five inches tall, dressed in lilac-colored suit and a scarf hanging from her head. Her horse was a sorrel with a fine mane. He described the man to have been armed with a sword and bow and twenty odd arrows in his quiver. A policeman was the third to give his testimony. The policeman was the one who arrested a notorious brigand, Tajomaru, on the bridge at Awataguchi.. Tajomaru was arrested after being thrown off a sorrel with a fine mane horse. He was dressed in a dark blue silk kimono and a large plain sword.
He was also carrying a bow with leather strips, black lacquered quiver, and seventeen arrows with hawk feathers. The next to be questioned was an old woman. She was the mother-in-law of the dead man. She says that his son-in-law did not come from Kyoto. He was a samurai in the town of Kokufu. His name was Kanazawa no Takehiko. He was described as a twenty-six years old man and was of gentle disposition. He did nothing to provoke the anger of people. Her daughter is Masago. She is a nineteen year old woman with a small, oval, dark-completed face with a mole at the corner of her left eye.
She was described as a spirited, fun-loving girl but never knew any man except Takehiko. The couple left yesterday for Wakasa. Tajomaru was next. He confessed that he committed the murder. He met the couple and fell in love with Masago ad figured out a way to get her without killing her husband. He told Takehiko that there was treasure in the woods and brought them there. When it was a convenient spot, he seized him. He tied him up to the root of a cedar and gagged his mouth with fallen bamboo leaves. After this, he tried getting Masago. Even if she tried slashing Tajomaru with her small sword, he was able to evade her attack.
When he was about to leave them, Masago started crying and clung to his arm. She had asked to either kill her husband or he dies. She was ashamed of what had happened and wanted to be the wife of whoever survives. He decided to follow and untied Takehiko and told him to fight. Tajomaru killed Takehiko after twenty-three stroke. After Takehiko’d body fell, Masago had already left. Tajomaru decided to leave on Masago’s horse with Takehiko’s sword and bow and arrow. The fifth person was Masago. She stated that Tajomaru had seized her and Takehiko was watching helplessly.
She could see the agony his husband was facing. When Tajomaru left, Takehiko felt shame, grief and anger. She told him that she cannot live without him. She wants to die but he must die along with her. She could not find his sword, and bow and arrow but she found her small sword. Takehiko had difficulty speaking but she could see in his eyes that he wanted to die. She stabbed him in the chest and untied him afterwards. She tried committing suicide multiple times, like stabbing her own throat and throwing herself into a pond at the foot of the mountain.
She somehow lives after these attempts. The last testimony came from Takehiko, as told through a medium. He said that after the violent act, Tajomaru comforted Masago. He was trying to tell his wife to not believe the robber. But Masago did not notice him and believed in Tajomaru and wanted to run away with him. She told the robber to kill her husband. Hesitant at first, Tajomaru soon agreed. Masago suddenly ran away and Tajomaru took Takehiko’s sword, and bow and arrow. After freeing Takehiko from his bonds, Tajomaru disappeared.
Takehiko found his wife’s small sword and stabbed it into his chest. Blood flowed out of his mouth. When he only saw darkness, he felt that someone took the sword and more blood flowed out of his mouth. The inconstancies of the testimonies vary. The woodcutter mentioned a comb but it was no longer mentioned by the others. The fallen leaves where the violent battle had occurred was mentioned by the woodcutter and Tajomaru. The woodcutter says that the cause of death was a single sword-stroke to the chest but in the testimonies of Masago and Takehiko, a small sword was stabbed into his chest.
The woodcutter claims that Takehiko was wearing a Kyoto-style suit but Masago’s mother says that he was not from Kyoto. The traveling Buddhist priest remembers that there were twenty arrows in the Takehiko’s quiver but the bounty hunter says that there were only seventeen. Tajomaru does not mention how Masago’s dagger disappears. In Tajomaru’s and Takehiko’s testimonies, Masago and Tajomaru have a conversation. Afterwards, Masago is willing to run away with Tajomaru and wants her husband dead. This was not mentioned in Masago’s testimony.
It is impossible for Masago to live after her suicide attempts, especially stabbing her throat. Takehiko mentions that blood flowed out of his mouth after the small sword was taken out of his chest. In the woodcutter’s testimony, the blood was dried up. The story uses third person limited. There were a lot of inconsistencies from the testimonies. No one really knew what really happened in the murder. Their testimonies were based on what only they have seen or experienced in the story. Therefore, they are unreliable. Most of them were even lying and was trying to hide something important from the commissioner.