Reboot attempt #1: Murakami's symbolism - animals

DiskuteraHard-Boiled Wonderland

Bara medlemmar i LibraryThing kan skriva.

Reboot attempt #1: Murakami's symbolism - animals

Denna diskussion är för närvarande "vilande"—det sista inlägget är mer än 90 dagar gammalt. Du kan återstarta det genom att svara på inlägget.

jan 21, 2009, 11:50 am

Ok, here's the thing: it has been rather quiet here, so I have not posted, thinking "what's the point? No one's here anyway." Then I realised that there's possibly a lot of people out there thinking the same thing... So I am going to try to re-ignite this group by blathering on until someone (hopefully) answers.

The first topic is one I've been thinking about for quite some time: Murakami's use of animals in his books. I don't think anyone has missed the fact that there's a lot of them: cats and elephants; kangaroos, fish, giraffes and sheep; monkeys, birds, even unicorns... If anything, animals seems to be THE key element of almost all his books, with a few exceptions.

Another fairly obvious point is that there seem to be a lot of symbolism connected with animals, and that they tie into what I'd like to call Murakami's personal mythology. Even so, this symbolism is often elusive to the point of obscurity, and often I can't get my head around it.

Often when Japanese writers use animals, western readers and critics are quick to make the connection to Shintoism and it’s animism, but given that Murakami is such a westernised writer, I can’t really accept that that’s the whole story.

Take the cats in Kafka on the Shore, for example: they are central to the story, but what do they represent? They seem (to me) to represent Nakata’s deeper “spiritual” connection to the world, but is that it? There seem to be a lot of sea creatures in that book as well, mainly connected with strange occurrences, like the fish falling from the sky - is there some connection between the “unknown depths of the sea”, as symbolised by the fish, and the increasing strangeness of reality? If so, is the book’s title relevant? The shore is the border between land and sea – where the “known world” ends and the unknown begin...

I have more thoughts about this, and of course about animals in other books as well, but I’ll leave it like this for now. I hope to hear some thoughts about it.

apr 18, 2009, 10:34 pm

I hadn't thought about the cat as symbols in Kafka on the Shore, but they help to mediate between our "real world" and a kind of supernatural world that Murakami constructs. There is an interesting review of this book at:í...

apr 3, 2011, 11:02 am

I love the use of cats throughout Murakami's work-there's a cumulative impact that deepens with each use and then resonates backwards to works already read that actually impels me to reread.