Benkyo5: On Second Bakery Attack

PostModern
Japan


Earl
Jackson, Jr.


talkingcure2000@aol.com

Yen
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Benkyo
5. On Murakami Haruki’s „The Second Bakery Attack“


[Earl
Jackson, Jr.’s feedback in Red.]

Murakami Haruki begins his story, „The Second Bakery Attack“
with the narrator offering a disclaimer that suggests the general helplessness
he feels as he recounts the events surrounding a restless, hungry night
with his then-new wife. [The narrator’s disclaimer
is another sign of the narrator’s control over the narrative, not his helplessness
before it. And the „helplessness“ he felt that night with his wife was
rather short lived since they immediately determined a plan and enacted
it. Finally your synopsis overnaturalizes the actual situation which is
misleading for a variety of reasons, not the least of which it suggests
that the „helplessess“ was due to some strain in the newlyweds‘ relationship.
Such is not the case.]
The nameless narrator [He’s
not nameless. He just hasn’t given his name.]
relates, „I myself
have adopted the position that, in fact, we never choose anything at
all
. Things happen. Or not.“ (36) This is not to say he doesnít act
but that his actions are of the most absurd and impractical variety—to
the point that we wonder, how could anyone choose such a course of action?
[You’ve
suffered a sematic slippage from the „choose“ that Murakami uses to the
„choose“ that you use. They aren’t related. This is a very subtle error
and deserves some attention.]
Multiple times in the story we
are treated to instances of problem-solving situations
[Weird
semantics. First of all a reader isn’t „treated“ to anything the way a
guest is „treated“ to popcorn. Secondly, the situations are problems, not
problem-solving situations. And thirdly how many do you countt? Your characterization
of said events is too blurry to allow me to count them along with you so
you should clarify what you mean and LIST THEM. Otherwise these assertions
do nothing but take up space on the page.]
, but the way things
are remedied just donít make sense. [YIKES!!!!
SUBJECT-VERB disagreement. „The way doesn’t make sense.“ Notice that the
semantic slippage between the two senses of „choose“ makes this observation
about the remedies not making sense not make sense.]
Beyond
that, the narrator goes back and forth between what was „actually happening“
and his recurrent „cinematic image of hunger“ with an ease that would only
seem achievable in a dream [Or the ease that is
achieveable in a work of fiction which is where he achieved it. Dreams
usually allow people to go back forth from reality to fantasy. And remember
the image of the boat over the volcano {which you should specify here}
is part of the writer’s reflection on events and feelings and shaping an
image-metaphor for that constellation. He’s in control over this scenario,
it’s not simply happening to him, and it definitely doesn’t have to happen
to him in the same temporal and affective point in the novel that events
occur. See me on this this is intricate.] .
By the end of the
story, we see that satiation could [Strange tense
or strange mood or both]
not yield a cinematic image. [[This
is a non-sequitur. There’s nothing to prevent „satiation“ from „yielding
a cinematic image“ in the story or anywhere else. And what do you mean
by „satiation“? Is that the aim of the events in the story? Is that what’s
achieved? What do you mean by „cinematic“? What images would never count
as „cinematic“? And images where? In the narrator’s consciousness? In that
case isn’t „cinematic“ merely a metaphor? And besides which, if you are
referring to the boat that seem quite „cinematic“ to me. Avoid absolute
pronouncements and be sure to proofread statements for their sense.]

Satiation comes at the expense of clarity (and sensibility) [Another
assertion that is completely alien to human experience. Do people necessarily
slip into a fog when eating their fill? And when is sensibility here? Do
you mean in the18th Century sense of the term. Why would not being hungary
damage a faculty of the human being as an epistemological subject? The
fact that this sentence is cis written in the passive and impersonal, divorces
it from any situation in the short story or any other discussion that would
give it sense. Now it’s something the Delphic oracle might say.]

While his life as a newlywed shows the couple struggling
to work out the quirks [Strange narrative in the
first half of this sentence. Why is the husband the only newlywed, and
how does his singular life as newlywed „show“ the couple doing anything.
His life is not a closed circuit tv Work out the quirks of what? You need
something in that sentence..]
, unable to make any substantial
meal out of the meager odds-and-ends in the refrigerator [How
often can most people do that at any random moment? This is not Apocalypse
Now, it’s just an ordinary refrigerator of people too busy to shop]
,
his „vision“ is decidedly clearer [Than what?
Clearer in what way? You’re leaving the logical cohesive out of your argument.]

. But when heís in „a little boat, floating on a quiet sea“ and he sees
a volcano rising from the ocean floor, he notes that he canít tell how
close the peak is to the surface because „the hypertransparency of water
interferes with the perception of distance.“ Essentially, then, heís visualizing
something thatís, paradoxically, too clear to be clear [That’s
a wonderful observation and you should keep that one. Notehowever it contradicts
what you claim prior that he’s „clearer“ at this point. You’re also overlooking
the fact that if this vision is what is preoccupying his mind while they
are deciding what to do about their hunger, this hardly what one would
call „clarity“]..
A page later [Speaking
of which, where ARE your page numbers, your citations? This won’t do.]
,
the narrator claims that „the clarity of the ocean water all around the
boat gave me an unsettled feeling.“ These visuals coincide with his extreme
hunger pains; the deprivation brings about an intense but uncomfortable
clarity [Test this against the text. Include supporting
evidence of this.].
This clarity is not what is most desired
[passive
verb];
rather satiation is the objective
[human
beings don’t talk like this and we don’t need a college course to tell
us that when people are hungary they need to eat. So what are you saying?]

, marked by absurd courses of action [This syntax
ran a red light. I doubt you mean that „what is most desired“ is „satiation
. . . marked by absurd courses of action.“ That’s what your syntax made
the sentence say. It didn’t want to.]
. A baker whoís willing
to give the narrator and his friend as much bread as theyíd like provided
they listen to an entire Wagner LP? [Only the
overtures. And you insert this as a sentence fragment and without distinguishing
the temporal distance between the two events. Again, then, what should
be information about the text becomes either non-information or disinformation.]

Holding up a McDonalds at gunpoint not for money but for thirty Big Macs,
only to pay for the Cokes? [This is simply pointing
at a sentence and saying, „Gee, nobody would do that“. Of course they wouldn’t.
So let’s write about the story and its meaning not what it would look like
to people who would never read it in the first place.]

By the end [Weird prepostional
phrase, not native English.]
of their McDonalds escapade the
narrator asks his wife, „Was it really necessary for us to do this?“ and
she replies „Of course it was!“ This seems to suggest that rationality
and necessity do not exist on the same planes [Let
me fix this sentence It suggests nothing of the kind, nor does it seem
to.] .
The use of McDonaldís begs to be examined in terms of
globalization [Then do it.] , and of
consumer excess after the

characters gorge themselves on a third of the stolen burgers.
But Murakami is not on a didactic anti-corporate mission here; I think
his argument is critical of such matters, but is far more subtle [Good.
I agree.].
The narrator mentions earlier his opposition to holding
a job in his college years („We didnít want to work. We were absolutely
clear on that.“ [40]), [Yes, they wanted to study
while in college. It doesn’t mean they never wanted to work.]

but then after the first bakery attack he started „working for the firm
and studying for the bar exam.“ He moves from student to lawyer, and simultaneously
from an „ordinary little neighborhood bakery“ to McDonalds [You
can’t build a parallel there. Student to lawyer is a leap in the status
of the subject. Bakery to McDonalds is either nothing or a leap downward.]

, and from knives to a shotgun [This one is misleading
again. Neither as students nor as citizens did theese people ever intend
to use these weapons on people. And neither the knife nor the shotgun become
metonyms for a life style the way student/lawyer or the bakery/mcdonalds
might.]
. The narrator, through these cues bears [SUBJECT-VERB
AGREEMENT @@@@; „These cues bear
]
all the markings of
increased power [Whoops the sentence still holds
terrors as the cues beain markers of increased power has another passive
construction and is a mixed metaphor]
, but his conformity is
a limited one [Whew, a triple-run! The last clause
is a complete non-sequitur!]
. Heís patronizing McDonalds but
not paying for the obscene quantity of burgers [You
complain that Murakami’s plot doesn’t make sense. I agree. But saying that
isn’t the beginning of analyzing the meaning of the story. That gets us
nowhere. But moreover, once we determine that the situations make no sense,
we can’t use the situations in our attempts as explanations. These actions
have no explanatory value whatsoever.]
. In a parking lot following
the raid and subsequent binge, the narrator recalls [Another
strange time-aspect. Why „recalls“?]
, „The first light of the
sun dyed the buildingís filthy walls purple and made a giant SONY BETA
ad tower glow with painful intensity. Soon the whine of highway truck tires
was joined by the chirping of birds.“ He notes that at this point his wife
rests her head on his shoulder and falls asleep. Is all well if the demarcations
of modern, industrial life coexist with the remaining signs of nature [The
remaining signs of nature? What in the story prompts you to ask this question.
And note if the question you ask itself seems to follow laws other than
those of logic perhaps we should find another question.. It doesn’t address
the couple or the world outside the short story either.]
? Do
we need nature {Who are „we“? „We“ aren’t in the
story? What is „need“? What is nature? Burgers are food.Do we eat „nature“?
Fish mass produce eggs. Is caviar not nature?]
when mass-produced
burgers fill us [Regardless of the number produced
at any time, burgers, being food, will have that effect on those beknighted
souls who eat them.]?
If we glance ahead [„We“
usually wait until we get to the finale. „We“ usually don’t „glance“ ahead.
How would we know what was there to glance at. And note the narrator describes
the scene in this we way whether or not „WE“ glance ahead. – a hard task
to perform since „We“ do not exist.]
to the final image of the
boat and volcano, the narrator describes [Weird
verb. Wrong.]
„Alone now, I leaned over the edge of my boat
and looked down to the bottom of the sea. The volcano was gone. The waterís
calm surface reflected the blue of the sky. Little waves— like silk pajamas
fluttering in a breeze—lapped against the side of the boat. There was
nothing else. I stretched out in the bottom of the boat and closed my eyes,
waiting for the rising tide to carry me where I belonged.“ (49) The clarity
of vision here is lost [How can you say that?
It’s every bit as clear as the other instances. You seem to have an entirely
arbitary way of classifying objects that take adjectives. Murakami’s is
not arbitrary.]
. He can no longer see a volcano [Because
it’s not there.],
in the sea he only sees the sky [Clarity],
„there was nothing else.“ Many different arguments could be made [Fence
straddling. This says nothing.How many arguments? Four? Sixteeen? How do
you know? Instead of suggesting numbers of arguments that could be made
{note you do not specify how many ‚correct‘ arguments „could be made“}|
You should make one argument in this paper. One. There aren’t any here.
A paper is an step-by-step argument, attentive to the internal laws of
the textual semiosis and the norms and tensions of coherence in the reading
situation. What I describe is actually easier to do than what you do here.]

about the juxtaposition of the Sony-McDonalds world with the tranquility
of the sea. Are these worlds mutually exclusive or can they be reconciled?
I donít feel I have the authority to make one singular claim; both arguments
could be made. [You said many arguments could
be made. Why reduce to two? And note you say „both“ but nothing the final
sentences even sketches something that could be called an argument. As
much as I’ve found I’ve objected to here, I find this very valuable because
in doing this we’ve come up with a groundplan for reading protocols. Thank
you.]


 


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PostModern
Japan


Earl
Jackson, Jr.


talkingcure2000@aol.com

Yen
Economies


Variations
Without A Theme


Another
Scene