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postgraduate thesis: Voicing the terrors of contemporary Japanese society : subjectivity, sublime terror, and history in Murakami Haruki's The wind-up bird chronicle

TitleVoicing the terrors of contemporary Japanese society : subjectivity, sublime terror, and history in Murakami Haruki's The wind-up bird chronicle
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Chong, T. S. [莊梓軒]. (2015). Voicing the terrors of contemporary Japanese society : subjectivity, sublime terror, and history in Murakami Haruki's The wind-up bird chronicle. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5611483
AbstractDespite the wide spectrum of subjects dealt with in its narrative, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami Haruki is a novel exploring the troubled state of subjectivity in contemporary Japan. Defined by internal void, detachment from the empirical experi-ence and loss of meaning and faith, human subjectivity is haunted by an unsettling desire for meaning in a late-capitalist society predominated by consumerism and sign-based economy. If the two incidents – the Subway Sarin Attack and the Kobe child murders – that plagued Japan in the second half in 1990s could be regarded as external markers of this long-repressed undercurrent of anxiety, perhaps it is able to say that The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, written slightly before the occurrence of these incidents, is very much a prescient work which anticipates the outburst of the anxiety before it has been expressed in a form of violence that brings unrecoverable trauma in reality. Explicit depictions of excessive violence in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle are rarely found in Murakami’s previous works. While critical comments do not lack awareness to these features, the terror-provoking function of these devices is understated. In place of magical realism, this dissertation attempts to read the supernatural devices employed in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle through the prism of Gothic-postmodernism so as to examine the ways in which the anxiety resulting from the dissolution of subjectivity is represented and amplified by the use of classical Gothic tropes. These devices convey an experience of sublime terror in which the perceived integrity of human subjectivity is severely challenged. The discussion will also address the problematic representation of ‘history’ in the novel. Throughout the discussion, it will show that Murakami’s melan-cholic, terror-provoking portrayal of our unwanted world performs an early-warning function, asking the reader to confront to and learn from the past in order to better face the future.
DegreeMaster of Arts
Dept/ProgramLiterary and Cultural Studies
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/221304

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorChong, Tsz-hin, Samuel-
dc.contributor.author莊梓軒-
dc.date.accessioned2015-11-17T23:11:52Z-
dc.date.available2015-11-17T23:11:52Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationChong, T. S. [莊梓軒]. (2015). Voicing the terrors of contemporary Japanese society : subjectivity, sublime terror, and history in Murakami Haruki's The wind-up bird chronicle. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5611483-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/221304-
dc.description.abstractDespite the wide spectrum of subjects dealt with in its narrative, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Murakami Haruki is a novel exploring the troubled state of subjectivity in contemporary Japan. Defined by internal void, detachment from the empirical experi-ence and loss of meaning and faith, human subjectivity is haunted by an unsettling desire for meaning in a late-capitalist society predominated by consumerism and sign-based economy. If the two incidents – the Subway Sarin Attack and the Kobe child murders – that plagued Japan in the second half in 1990s could be regarded as external markers of this long-repressed undercurrent of anxiety, perhaps it is able to say that The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, written slightly before the occurrence of these incidents, is very much a prescient work which anticipates the outburst of the anxiety before it has been expressed in a form of violence that brings unrecoverable trauma in reality. Explicit depictions of excessive violence in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle are rarely found in Murakami’s previous works. While critical comments do not lack awareness to these features, the terror-provoking function of these devices is understated. In place of magical realism, this dissertation attempts to read the supernatural devices employed in The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle through the prism of Gothic-postmodernism so as to examine the ways in which the anxiety resulting from the dissolution of subjectivity is represented and amplified by the use of classical Gothic tropes. These devices convey an experience of sublime terror in which the perceived integrity of human subjectivity is severely challenged. The discussion will also address the problematic representation of ‘history’ in the novel. Throughout the discussion, it will show that Murakami’s melan-cholic, terror-provoking portrayal of our unwanted world performs an early-warning function, asking the reader to confront to and learn from the past in order to better face the future.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.titleVoicing the terrors of contemporary Japanese society : subjectivity, sublime terror, and history in Murakami Haruki's The wind-up bird chronicle-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5611483-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Arts-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineLiterary and Cultural Studies-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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