Japan Forum Eight – Metaphors and Murakami
Bush and Heather Christensen
From: Ben Bush
Re: MurakamI and
Hey everybody in
the virtual classroom, got done reading Murakami’s Wild Sheep Chase
last night. Just thought I’d remark a bit upon it. for me it was less successful
than the short stories. But that’s not really the issue I suppose. I guess
the first thing that struck me was his overuse of similes. the similes
that had seemed so poised and tactful in the short stories seemed to be
running amok everywhere. Two or three similes in every paragraph it would
sometimes. But after awhile it started to make sense. If we see sheep as
a symbol of conformity (linked in the novel to media and advertising) then
a similes is a literary way of talking about how unrelated things are similar.
At the end rat talks about how the sheep were seeking power by uniting
opposites. What better linguistic method to do this than metaphors. Does
this make sense? Okay the Sheep man’s unified streaks of words besides
making his speech pseudo accelerated it is also as though his ideas are
unified. sentences as unified herds. The conglomeration, the corporate
merger taken to the realm of words.
Fri, 26 Apr 2002 15:24:18 PDT
From: Heather Christensen
Re: language and sheep�
In response to Ben’s questions about the multitude
of metaphors in Wild Sheep Chase, I did a little research on the
connotations of sheep and geese by reading definitions of each in the OED.
Sheep: sheepfaced – bashful or shy sheepish-like sheep,
foolishly diffident sheep’s eye – shy, long, usually amorous glance
sheep shank – 1. knot for shortening line
2. something of no worth or importance sheepshead– A silly
or stupid person there are also many plants that are sheep
almost all are small or weeds
Goose (noun): goose-silly person
Goose (vb) -to poke in the buttocks, pry.
Goosecap-Flighty young girl
Goosestep- To march. also an unthinking conformity
of thought or action, or one who conforms easily under social pressure
or fear from reprisal
Goosey-foolish, stupid, susceptible to or reacting
strongly, ticklish. I am interested also of the connotations of these animals
in other languages, Esp in Japanese.
[I spelled the name of the language out in full
to avoid the unfortunate abbreviation. Earl.]
It is surprising that every single reference for both
animals is derrogatory or weak. It is strange, shall I say postmodern,
to discriminate [??] against the usual
tropes of a sheep and create one as a power, as a force and the conflict
for this whole novel, and then play with the concept of a wild goose chase.
It creates a strange sense of tension that at times doesn’t seem mentioning
but equally cannot be brushed off, in the same way that Murakami creates
a tension with the time and the pendulum of the grandfather clock. A known
an unknown idea.
These ideas are unpolished but wanted to communicate them….
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