Friday, December 23, 2011

after the quake

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Rollercoaster after the Quake

Earthquakes have the tendency to disrupt many lives. It changes a person’s belief that the world they live in is safe and secure place. In After the Quake Haruki Murakami, writes moderate stories about people, not in Kobe, not even directly involved with Kobe at all, but nevertheless caught up in the national aftershock which affects them all in strange, small ways. These stories are inspired by the quake that devastated Kobe, Japan in January 15. The earthquake itself only appears in the background of each tale, but there is a connection between the stories through different devices. After facing sudden, uncontrollable changes in their lives created by external forces each of the characters is struck by his or her own shattering personal earthquake.

In the first story “UFO in Kushiro,” Komura an electronics salesman whose life takes a new turn when his wife leaves him after following the coverage of horrors inflicted on people by the earthquakes. She was so absorbed in the devastation of people’s lives for “five straight days she spent in front of the television, staring at crumbled banks and hospitals,” (Murakami ). It really effected her seeing how a person’s life could change with one destructive event. Throughout the first half of the story Komura does not make any effort to talk to his wife to find out why she is so obsessed with earthquake. Later on when she leaves, she explained her departure by simply saying, “The problem is that you never give me anything. Or to put it more precisely, you have nothing inside you that you can give me…living with you is like living with a chunk of air” (5). She is trying to tell him that he never cared enough for her to find out what was wrong with her. He never really understood why she was so upset with watching some unidentified people who she didn’t even know.

He was very passive and self-centered who never bothered to look inside his wife’s heart and took his relationship with her for granted. On the other hand after seeing how life could change in few moments, Komura’s wife realized she should spend it with the people who love her back such as her family “ her father was crazy about his youngest daughter and happily paid for her round-trip fares”(5). Her family always made her feel welcome and loved so she leaves her uneventful life to live with people who care for her. Even after she leaves and writes that she’ll never come back he still does not make any real effort to win her back, which would have proven how much she really means to him. Komura’s wife leaving him right after the earthquake changes his life just as it has done to the people who were involved in the earthquake. Up to this point, his life had been uncomplicated, and his marriage of five years, he thought, relatively successful. Now, finding himself at loose ends, he embarks on an errand for a colleague. He is to deliver a small box to his friends sister in Kushiro, another part of the country. The journey turns into a kind of pilgrimage, which ends with Komuras coming circuitously to a better understanding of himself. Komura is almost perfectly passive before the pilgrimage, distant from both the world and his own emotions. She has seen, of course, that everything can disappear in an instant, and she has begun to understand what this means to her life. Her leaving forces the same primal awareness on Komura.

Cheap College Papers on after the quake

In “Landscape with Flatiron” a runaway girl finds first comfort, then despair, in a bonfire artist on the beach. Junko has left her solid, family based life to come find herself. In her own way she wants to relate to the creation of bonfire, how it could be fixed if something is wrong with it just as how Miyake “would examine in detail the form he had constructed, adjust some of the pieces, then circle around to the other side for another look, repeating the process several times (8). After hearing about the destruction inflicted by Kobe earthquake and so many broke families, it seems as if Junko could relate to it. After leaving her home what she really wants is love of family. As is said in the book “Junko never said much in the presence of the fire. …The flames accepted all things in silence, drank them in, understood, and forgave. A family, a real family, was probably like this, she thought” (). One earthquake brought her true feelings out and made her realize what she really needs and seems as if she would never find it in her family. He friendship with Miyake bring her close what she always felt was missing out of her life.

“All god’s children can Dance” is as dramatic internal expedition through the dangerous emotional landscape of a fatherless young man with a terrible hangover. It’s a little strange and slightly disturbing story. Yoshiya, born to an eccentric single mother, who had him after several unfortunate couplings. Even though she used protection each time she still got pregnant to which Mr. Tabata said in simple words “ you took the most rigorous contraceptives measures, and yet you became pregnant…the child you are carrying is not just anyone’s child, Miss Osaki it is the child of our Lord in Heaven” (57). From that day her mother started believing in god with all her heart and thought of him as the father of her child. While Yoshiya would not believe such thing could really happen he abandons his faith because he believed if the One is his father how come he never revealed himself to Yoshiya. He did search for the person who fathered him because he never felt any different then an average person so he believed his father was somewhere out there. In this story Yoshiya responds to the earthquake by searching for his biological father. One night, he tracks his father down, and tails him to a strange neighborhood. Suddenly, the young man finds himself in a landscape as barren as his own heart as he describes this experience “what I was chasing in circles must have been the tail of the darkness inside me” (64). At this point he realized it really did not matter “if the man was his father, or God, or some stranger who just happened to have lost his right earlobe? It no longer made any difference to him and this in itself had been a manifestation, a sacrament” (64).

Thailand, is about a fatigued and worn out pathologists who came to terms with

the path her life was taking during the end of her weeks vacation.. On safe ground Dr Satsuki fly to the World Thyroid Conference in Thailand. She is exhausted, needs the break and is searching for more meaning to her life. In the setting there is a bitterness of a resentful divorce, “she had a falling-out with her ...husband, whose dependency on alcohol had grown worse addition to which he had become involved with another woman�someone Satsuki knew well”(71). Satsuki feels very unwanted because she had caught the person she married cheating on her with someone she knew and trusted. She feels betrayed and helpless at the same time. She is exhausted of life and takes a week’s vacation to forget about her existence. During this vacation she meets Nimit, her chauffeur and guide. He looks after her well and both are Jazz fans. On her way to resort, the Kobe quake is on the radio and she tries to suppress the thought that her ex lives there because when she does think of him she can only secretly wish that “he would be swallowed up by the liquefied earth.”(76). Even though she knows its wrong to wish for someone death there is part of her that wants her ex husband to suffer just as she had been. Satsuki we sense is a woman who wants to get past her bitterness and reconnect with herself. Nimit understands this and takes her to see someone who might give her insight. She feels as if she is to be blamed for the quake because she wanted the man she hated for so long to die “in order to bring that about, she had gone so far as to wish in the depths of her heart for an earthquake” (87). After realizing that she figures out that the stone in her body is creation of the hate she has inside her for the man she married. She has to let go of the past to get on with the future and her life. She cannot hold on to something that happened long time ago. By holding on to that dreadful event of her divorce she was leading herself toward death because her life was full of unhappiness.

“Super-Frog Saves Tokyo” is very bizarre and remarkable story. It begins with Mr. Katagiri, a long collector coming home and finding a frog sitting in his apartment. It gets more absurd as the frog asks Mr. Katagiri for help in saving Tokyo from a giant worm. It all seems very unreal to Mr. Katagiri who looks at himself as no one and nothing. “I’m an absolutely ordinary guy. Less than ordinary. I’m going bald, I’m getting a potbelly, I turned forty last month…Why should a person like me have to be the one to save Tokyo?” (104) Mr. Katagiri is has very low self esteem and its hard for him to understand why is he the one who has to take care of such an important task if it is to take place. He always felt there is no one who cares about if he lives or dies and this frog is asking him to save Tokyo from an earthquake. When Mr. Katagiri asks why he is the one with this responsibility frog simply states “Because, Mr. Katagiri, Tokyo can only be saved by a person like you. And it’s for people like you that I am trying to save Tokyo” (104). This proves that it’s the lost that need saving, Mr. Katagiri has felt as if he doesn’t mean anything to anyone. His existence is unknown to the people. His siblings could care less if he does something great or not. It himself he has to live for. He has to start thinking about himself before others. He has to start giving meaning to his life instead live a life where living or dieing wouldn’t make a difference.

The last and the final story, “Honey Pie”, concerns a shy, passive middle aged struggling writer Junpei, who is manipulated by his friend Takatsuki and at the short end of a love triangle involving his two closest friends.. He uses his friendship with Junpei to pass his classes and get his degree. Then comes Sayoko into there group and they become threesome. They went and did everything together “they shared lecture notes, ate lunch…, talked about their future over coffee…took part time jobs at the same place” (1). But while the friendship was flourishing Junpei fell in love with Sayoko but never had the courage to go up to her and ask her out because he believed he was not what she wanted. In his mind he knew he should go to her but he was afraid of the rejection “ he knew that there would be no going back once the words left his mouth, and that she might take herself off somewhere far beyond his reach” (1). When the opportunity arrives for him to claim the woman he loves, hes seized by ingrained feelings of fear and doubt, with the implications of the earthquake weighing heavily on his conscience. He didn’t think he would be able to live without her presence in his life so he accepted whatever he could get and only dreamed of what he could get it. He knew he has lost his chance of being with her when she married Takatsuki but she was the only woman he ever loved and couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. Indirectly he never gave up hope on Sayoko, and after Sayoko’s divorce from Takatsuki, Junpei once again had the opportunity to be with the woman and her child who he loved as his own. When he hears about earthquake hitting Kobe he realizes he can not dread wondering if its right or wrong time to ask Sayoko to marry him or if it was Takatsuki’s idea that he should marry Sayoko. He felt after the quake life should not be wasted and enjoyed and lived with the people you love and care for.

The six short stories leave the reader shaken long after they turn the last page. Even though each story had different plotline they still went as smooth as any novel a person would read. It has all the essentials components of a novel. These stories were loosely linked by the echo of a common event, but there is certain thematic correspondence between the six pieces. They are all meticulously good people who lived there lives without any kind of fuss but as the earthquake ruins the country with a snap, just like that these people face there frustration, anger and fear. Every story reveals a new idea and gives people the energy and courage to face there personal dilemmas which are similar to the earthquake in Kobe, Japan.

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