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The Serpent and the Self: Identity and Self Discovery in Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and the Story of Dōjōji

Show simple item record Harder, Alicia K. 2013-04-03T14:37:39Z 2013-04-03T14:37:39Z 2013
dc.description.abstract Dōjōji and the Kegon engi Emaki are two stores that are often studied with a psychoanalytical approach. The transformation and resolution of these tales are often interpreted as men reconciling this inherent fear that they have of women and the power they possess. This is misogyny is also seen as a reflection on the role of women within a greater Buddhist context, which offered little opportunities for female enlightenment. This paper sets out to look that these narratives in a different light by exploring the relationship between the portrayals of female transformation in these stories and its applications to Haruki Murakami’s novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. At first glance the two narratives might share little in common, there are similarities. Throughout Murakami’s novels he has a clearly defined concept of the self as divided into two parts. There is the self that we know to be ourselves and then there is the other self, the self that observes. Although this unknown self may seem unimportant, given our own unawareness, disrupting these two selves is something that has drastic consequences. As we see in Murakami’s novels, his characters must go on a journey in order to resolve this defiled self. This portrayal of the self is similarly reflected in these stories of female transformation, where this disruption can be seen as the transformation itself. Not only do both narratives follow a similar arc of disruption, journey, and resolution but there are also shared themes of sexuality as well as a similar relationship between the physical versus metaphysical world. Although taking a psychoanalytical approach is certainly an interesting way of looking at the story of female transformation in the Kegon engi Emaki and Dōjōji, it is also possible to see Murakami’s sense of self at play throughout these narratives of female transformation. In both cases this unconscious self is brought into the open and there is a resulting transformation in an attempt to achieve resolution.
dc.description.sponsorship Bi-College (Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges). Department of East Asian Studies
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subject.lcsh Identity (Philosophical concept) in literature
dc.subject.lcsh Nō -- Criticism and interpretation
dc.subject.lcsh Self in literature
dc.subject.lcsh Murakami, Haruki, 1949- Nejimaki-dori kuronikuru
dc.subject.lcsh Murakami, Haruki, 1949- -- Criticism and interpretation
dc.title The Serpent and the Self: Identity and Self Discovery in Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and the Story of Dōjōji
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Open Access

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