The Teleology of Trauma: How Haruki Murakami Shapes Narratives and Their Methods in Creating and Understanding Trauma
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. Department of English Undergraduate Research Theses; 2018
Haruki Murakami (1949-) is a contemporary Japanese author whose works present our world on the cusp of embracing another where cats and sheep men can talk, where woman disappear, and where wells are as deep as unconsciousness. However, the majority of his works have a common theme throughout – trauma. The goal of this thesis is to accurately describe the trauma that can be found within many of Murakami's works, but also to understand Murakami's literary project and narrative theory via trauma. By conducting a close reading (formal identification of genre, consideration of narrative structure and methods) and analysis (psychoanalytic study of character, comparative theories of trauma) of Murakami's works, I show the trauma that is presented through the genre of magical realism in various ways including creating a different way to examine magical realism as a genre, and how the narrative structural elements of the texts such as narrators, tense, time, and the organization of the stories and framed narratives allude to trauma. In my analysis I move to combine genre and narrative structure in how the texts present expectations for us as readers that are never or are partially fulfilled with narrative closure creating trauma affect for readers. Finally, I take genre, structure, and closure into account resulting in an understanding of how we as readers interpret Murakami and trauma via a hermeneutic evaluation of his works in how we understand meaning and truth but also the meaning and truth of trauma. In my conclusion I propose that the common theme of trauma doesn't just permeate the worlds and characters Murakami creates, but it also encapsulates how the narratives are told, how they end, and how we interpret them.
Academic Major: English
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