When reading After Dark, I found it interesting to consider the similarities between the perceptions of animals in this novel and the one we read last week, Blu’s Hanging. It’s interesting to consider how animals in Blu’s Hanging were viewed as good luck symbols to the Ogata children. Big Sis tells Ivah that “you put that black cat on your stomach and the bugga pull all your sadness into herself” (Yamanaka 83). For the children and people of Hawaii animals were a symbol of comfort and happiness, but in After Dark, when animals are mentioned they instill fear. Takahashi tells Mari that, “any single human being, no matter what kind of a person he or she may be, is all caught up in the tentacles of this animal like a giant octopus, and is getting sucked into the darkness. You can put any kind of spin on it you like, but you end up with the same unbearable spectacle” (Murakami 99). Takahashi believes that behavior in humans is caused by this evil creature that lives at the bottom of the ocean, ultimately causing people to do things that are out of their control. I think it’s interesting to consider the opposing viewpoint of animals in these two novels. Although they initially may be viewed as somewhat minor parts of both novels, I think that they bring up important cultural ideals and give insight to the reader as to how animals, most of the time, can carry ritualistic and magical symbolism—sometimes positive and sometimes negative.