Summary Of Haruki Murakami's The Elephant Vanishes

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Time is an element in the creation and development of a narrative. Time can be used to express events in different styles and to enrich a timeline with details. In magical realism and surrealism, which deal with the extraordinary as part of the ordinary, time is elongated, overturned, and set in different forms, jumping from one event to another without it immediately making sense. In Haruki Murakami’s short story collection, The Elephant Vanishes, it is as if time were an antagonist at first, a contender of characters in their tales. It is a factor of occurrence in the accounts and creates an inciting incident that leads to a plot’s climax. In stories such as “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning”, “The Kangaroo Communiqué”…show more content…
For example, as the reader experiences the pages of “Sleep” the protagonist creates a bond with her reality. Murakami achieves this with the use of time. As the narrator assumes her new position in life, she stares at her face “ purely as a physical object,” and gradually it disconnects itself from the rest of her, “becoming something that just happened to exist at the same time” as herself (82). As this occurs, the protagonist mentions that “this is happening here and now,” (82). With time’s progression, the connection are good but you should come to a conclusion on between the character and her reality is made stronger. By visualizing this connection, time is a companion that struggled to reach this status. On the other hand, time can act as the antagonist of an ideal love story. As in “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl…”: the story of two soulmates who decided to test their compatibility by going their separate ways and waiting to find each other but never did. As “time passed with shocking swiftness,” they came across each other, “but the glow of their memories was far too weak, and their thoughts no longer had the clarity of fourteen years earlier,” (72) and the couple did not recognize each other. This was due to a severe influenza that wiped their memories clean. “Without a word, they passed each other, disappearing into the crowd. Forever” (72).…show more content…
In the case of “On Seeing the 100% Perfect Girl…” time is used to explain the complications lived by both characters. Time is a tool that can change fate and change the ending of a story. In the story, the couple defied destiny and went their separate ways. After a few months, they both caught the influenza that faded their memories and made them forget one another. As the resolution begins, the narrator wonders how one who has found and lost their soul mate could explain all that has happened that finally brings them to that period of time. He wishes he “could talk to her. Half an hour would be plenty,” to “explain to her the complexities of fate that have led to [their] passing each other on a side street”(69). Here, time creates a conflict because of its impact on the protagonists’ health. Time also influences fate because of the time that the characters spent separated from one another. As the characters decide to place their destiny in the hands of time, it changes the course of their lives. The narrator
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