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The Emissary is based on a futuristic world where nature and society have been turned on their heads in every way. The young are weak, the old are strong, parents acting like children and children acting like adults, and never knowing if you are going to wake up as the same gender you were when you went to bed. However, despite all these unsettling shifts that defy logic this world has quite a few similarities to ours. One of the big things is that the young are still hopeful while the old despair. This truth is threaded throughout the story, and it fascinates me why she would have left this structure place. The world has already cracked at its faultlines; time, gender, society, but still, this hopefulness remains. It is like she is saying hope is the last thing to die. I also wonder if the next generation will lose this buffer around them that prevents despair, and what that would mean for the grandfather and his generation.

Another similarity is the derision of the elderly. We have a tendency to treat our older relatives like they don’t know anything. This is also true in The Emissary.
“‘A what? A walk? Oh, yeah, a walk, ha ha ha,’ laughed the man behind the counter, finally catching on. I was a superior sort of laugh, directed at this old geezer who still used outdated expressions like a walk.”(pg4)

The derision of the elderly is only multiplied because many blame Yoshiro’s generation for what has happened to Japan. Yoshiro blames himself and doesn’t think that he has any wisdom to give to his grandchild or his daughter. It is an interesting trait to keep in this world. 

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