Strong woman

I liked Kaoru’s character.  She was a very strong woman.  I liked the fact that she had a different appearance than everybody else, most notably her short, blond hair.  She was physically very large, so that gave her an edge in dealing with people in her line of work.  Unafraid to confront a man (a supposed “tough guy”), she exhibits a very matter-of-fact attitude which she probably acquired her years as a wrestler.  This is seen when she gets her money from the man on the motorcycle in front of Hotel Alphaville:  “Ya know, fella, I haven’t been paid for my hotel room.”  (45)  She even admits to Mari what her life is like, saying “Hell, you can see I’m more like a bouncer or bodyguard.”  (58)  Bouncers and bodyguards have been (still are) men’s roles, obviously because the nature of the job requires strength and build.

Short hair and large physical stature are male characteristics, giving Kaoru a somewhat “manly” appearance.  She also was in a position of leadership.  The nature of the business aside, she still played a “boss” role, being in charge of the entire hotel.  She also exhibited masculine traits in her manner of speech, which was very direct and to the point:  “Ya know, fella” (as mentioned before)  “Man!”  (46)  “I could really use a beer.”  (51)  Of course, women say these words, too, but combined with the physical description of Kaoru, her mannerisms, and her position at the hotel, this type of speech lends to the overall “masculinization” of her character.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Strong woman

  1. vrosengrant20

    I must agree that the character of Karou was an interesting and likeable character that not only possessed an outer strength but an inner one as well. Many of the characters of the novel have a problem that they must overcome, like Mari’s issues with being not as pretty as her sister and the riff that grew between them, Karou had the problem with her back that took her out of the wrestling business. The novel introduces her character once Karou has worked passed being ousted from the wrestling business along with her financial troubles. Karou has grown strong as she surpassed her own personal problem and is able to take care of the other characters, like giving Mari a room to sleep in and starting the search for the man for beat up the Chinese prostitute.

  2. Your in-depth critique of Kaoru’s character is very unique. I love how you characterize Kaoru as a strong woman and compare her physique to a man. Kaoru reminds me of the character, Pilate, in Song of Solomon. Her ‘tough guy” role correlates with Kaoru’s in After Dark. However what makes Kaoru different is the numerous masculine traits she carried, i.e. her speech, her body structure, her “view” of herself of having a job sought out for men (bouncer/bodyguard). I like that out of all the themes to talk about in After Dark, you chose one that may not have been so common–strong woman. Great choice.

  3. I really like your analysis of Kaoru in your blog post. I found her character to be very likable. I find it interesting that the fact that she is physically large, as well as having “masculine” characteristics makes her automatically seem stronger and more independent than we might first view Mari.

    I also find it interesting that her size and mannerisms also leads the reader to make assumptions about her. Kaoru hints toward this in the book, by saying she looks more like a bodyguard than a hotel manager. A job like this is typically associated with men, and I fell that she is accepting or at least acknowledging the judgment that is placed upon her in the story, even though her character is actually quite different than the stereotypical “masculine” female.

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