Gokujou Naruto

Random Italics Essay
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Confused about italics in Ai no Koto? Read this.

I have this feeling, based on many reviews and comments, that these sections shown confused several people.


I've got them listed here, now, as a note to myself to find out what needs to be that way, and what doesn't. I'm still going through Chpt. 4c and up to find out where I did what, and making decisions on what italics need to stay, and what needs to go. I've taken out a few already, and I'll briefly give a few explanations for why the rest are there...


Normal reasons for using italics in fiction:

  • A character is speaking, and they stress a word.
  • The narrator wants to stress a word.
  • A character is thinking.

Reasons why italics appear in Ai

  • Foreign words are mentioned in the narration.
  • A character says a word in a foreign language.
  • A character stresses a syllable.
  • The author wants to stress parts of words.

You're probably still wondering why I want to stress parts of words. Well, there are a couple of reasons...

1.       Think back to reading Huckleberry Finn or another book by Mark Twain. He uses an enormous amount of dialect (or writing the way things sound) in his works. When a slave speaks, Twain would mimic their slang and accents by spelling things in an unorthodox way.

I'm sort of doing the same thing-- people don't always stay stressed on all of one word. Sometimes it'll be part of the word-- usually the accented part-- and then it'll be normal again.

Confused about accents in words? Think of the word "literature." We’re not robots. The word doesn't have equal stress on each part. So, we say it: Liter'chur. You’ll notice that if you say literchure or “liter’chur the word changes—almost so we don’t recognize what it means. Such is the power of inflection in English… (‘tis why my choir director makes sure we know how to say a word in songs; if you don’t put the accent in the right place, no one can understand the meaning).

If I wanted to stress “literature”, I'd italicize the "it" only, 'cause that's how I want it said.

I'm not Twain. I don't usually spell dialect the way it's said, 'cause my characters are educated...they know how to spell, so they're not sounding it out. When a character is speaking, sometimes, I'll shorten words 'cause that's how I talk, and how I imagine the characters talk. (Ex. in that sentence, actually...I don't say "because" I say 'cause. But no one's asked me 'bout that yet...)

2. Think back to the days in English class (for you American
    readers) where you talk about literary elements. I imagine
   symbolism, theme, foreshadow and a few other things were

I'm being a little weird here, and using my word choice as a literary element to kinda force you guys to notice certain words.

Why? Well, there are themes in Ai that I want to emphasize. I'd love for you to notice what those are-- but because this isn't a short story, you don't have time to mull over every part. So, I'm trying to shove bits into your face so that you'll remember them. And guess what-- from the reviews I got, you did!! ^_^...you  just got confused in the process. *Sigh* I'll try and fix that.

So. Basically, if it's in the naration, it's pointing to a theme of Ai. If it's in dialogue, it's characterization-- I want you to hear the characters' voices the way I do.

Don't worry, though, I won't do the italisizing quite as often as I did in Chp. 4...It'll only appear in planned sections that might go over some readers' heads if I don't shove stuff into people's faces.

Repetition of words

 One word I've repeated a lot is "eyes" in Chpt. 4c 'cause I want you to pay attention to that. So, "eyes" become a motif for Ai no Koto.

In literature, when something is a motif, it's also a symbol—usually. Think about what "eyes" means to you...then try to think about what "eyes" means to me (Guess. I don't want to tell you everything).  Think of a few well-known sayings that involve "eyes" and see if you can find a relation to my story and such a saying.


Sometimes, symbols in literature are well known things that everyone has an idea about. For example, if a motif in a story was a dove, the first connection many people would make is—


Other famous symbols:




One thing to be wary of: symbols change meaning over time. Think about how a “rainbow” could be considered. A century ago, this probably would have been a symbol of the Christian God’s love for His people. Now, this can be a symbol for gay pride. To figure out what take the author is taking, you might want to look at their biographical information—what’s available—and the time period they live in. Someone two centuries ago wouldn’t have meant gay pride.

Now, since we’re working with fan fiction here, there are some heavy allusions to Kishimoto’s manga/animated series, Naruto. Think about items/character traits that are specific to the Naruto universe. What of these items/character traits become symbolic in the anime? What kinds of emotions surround these things?

One example for you in case you’re completely lost:

Naruto’s whiskers.

Before he realizes he’s the vessel of the Kyuubi, the whiskers set him apart from the other children, but no more than Kiba’s paint-streaks (or whatever they are). To Naruto, they symbolize his otherness. His whiskers make him different from everyone else.

After he realizes the whiskers mark him as a demon’s vessel, the whiskers become a symbol of his…hmm. Well, it could mean many things. It could symbolize humankind’s natural tendency towards evil. It could symbolize the eternal battle between good and evil. Or, it could symbolize a fox…but, you know, that’s boring. ^_^

So, what I’m saying is that it’s all an opinion. You could probably find a way to back up anything you say.

Disappearing words

Anyone notice that “flickered” transforms slowly to “fl…” by the end of Chpt. 4c? Yes? Thought you might have. *Grins* well, why do you suppose that it disappeared in the first place?

Yes. I wanted to accent something again. Then the question becomes “why” all over again, doesn’t it?

Well, who’s point of view is this section in?

Right: Naruto’s.

The choice of PoV has something to do with why this section is written the way it is. Maybe the “eyes” motif has something to do with the main character, or someone close to him? Which do you think?

Let me put it this way for you…Naruto is a silent observer of a conflict between Lee and Sasuke. Lee said something that had a strong impact on Naruto. Can you remember what that was? (Hint: the saying is right before a “poetic section”) Exactly how did this phrase make Naruto feel? How would you feel in a similar situation? How would this affect Naruto’s opinion of the situation?

What word comes directly before the disappearing word?

All these words are important (in my opinion) to understanding the underlying theme to this section-- a theme that would be missed if you're not looking for it.

"to the clock roamed Sasuke’s / eyes."


"Oh. Closed for a moment, / then flickered Naruto’s / eyes."


"Eyes flickered."


"Sasuke’s eyes flickered. Narrowed."


"Eyes fli. . .Sasuke’s red eyes."


"A slight pause, and eyes fl. . ."


"Red eyes, once black, trailed his back. / Bleak and foreboding / eyes f. . . / eyes."




"Everyone in the class had noticed the tension between the blonde haired boy and Sasuke, and several of the latter’s would-be-lovers had used this unspoken rivalry to her advantage."

"Lee’s smile faded, and a light disappeared from bright eyes."

"White, white hands fell to the desk, and Lee’s defiant words fell off numbed lips."


“I wonder if that really counts as ignoring, per se.”

“Iruka turned to address the class, and lectured for a few minutes while Naruto lazily penned key words in his notebook—and hoped. . .to understand this later. . .”

“Iruka listened patiently to the blonde’s opinion, and thoughtfully formulated a reply that no one—pro’lly not even Ino—understood. “

“Startled, Iruka laughed quietly and his smile returned as he gazed fondly—or so he thinks. . .gushy. . .sentimental. . .teacher. . .”


“The lighter skinned girl—once again, Naruto thought of a few different ways to describe her—had probably come to visit Sasuke. “

“They’ll never fall in love with anyone that they don’t already consider perfect.”

"Expressionless, he glanced up and down the corridor as his eyes scanned for misplaced products."

"He went for the refrigerated items first, as his manager had chided him on more than one occasion about quality and freshness."

"Surely a rich-ass kid like him would have an extra—"

"But. . .he’s not. . .something’s not normal."

Sasuke-yo, what—”

"Fine, take your damn time. . ."

"Sasuke smiles?"


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