/After Dark/: a Discourse on Personality

After Dark by Haruki Murakami is a unique narrative which offers insight into the interior and exterior personality traits of a medley of different characters, all drawn together during the “witching hours” between midnight and early morning. The variances between characters was the most intriguing aspect of the work. Rather between the two main characters, sisters Eri and Mari, the contrast drawn is striking and though-provoking. By utilizing the “we” pluralistic form of narrative, Murakami invokes a collective ideal, reminiscent of a camera recording minute details in these many characters’ lives.

By engaging this omniscient, pluralistic narrative, Murakami adds a sense of detachment while simultaneously remaining permeatingly intimate. In this style, it is difficult to determine if there is a central protagonist. By administering this narration technique, each of the many characters is given due service for the events that they are currently experiencing. Additionally, by invoking this style, the plenitude of characters are similarly united despite their differences. By encompassing this style, Murakami is suggesting that although people are inherently different, there is a bond which connects them all; the bond of humanity. I think that this is a main thematic element of the text which is only strengthened by the choice to narrate the text in a pluralistic format. The relationship between Mari and Eri exemplifies this thematic element. The importance of attachment and human-to-human connection is vital to this narrative and is shown both implicitly and explicitly. “The important thing is that during that whole time in the dark, Eri was holding me. And it wasn’t just some ordinary hug. She squeezed me so hard our two bodies felt as if they were melting into one. She never loosened her grip for a second. It felt as though if we separated the slightest bit, we would never see each other in this world again” (Murakami 180).



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2 responses to “/After Dark/: a Discourse on Personality

  1. gpwestland

    It’s very interesting indeed to explore the reasons behind Murakami’s application of the “we” scope. I do agree with you that this technique both achieves a detaching as well as an intimate effect. It is as if you‘re provided with an omniscient view on the character yet at the same time you totally start to feel sympathy for the characters; especially the ones that you normally wouldn’t associate with that much. However, I’m not so sure about your point that this technique creates a bond between the characters. It seems like Eri remains very indifferent towards some of the people in the book. However, once again it interesting to look into the author’s motive for employing this technique, so thanks for bringing it up.

  2. vrosengrant20

    The omniscient and distant narrative acts like the camera for a documentary by pointing out objects of interest and making connections to the rest of the story. This comes from how the narrator will show the connection between the characters when they pass by each other, like the motorcyclist from the Chinese mafia passing by the taxi containing the man who beat up the prostitute. This stems to the items they interact with, such as the cell phone left by the businessman that was found by Takahashi, that create a new connection. This works to unite the characters within the story while still identifying themselves by their own experiences and personalities.

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