Connection and Isolation of Individual Worlds

The novel After Dark puts a lot of emphasis on the individual worlds that each person lives in, in contrast to the expansive reality that they exist within.  The surreal elements in the novel, specifically the use of the television, allow for a direct view into the isolated worlds that each character has created for themselves.  The most obvious example is the room  on the other side of the television that Eri is transported to where she cannot escape.  This represents the deep sleep that plagues her as she isolates herself from the “flesh-and-blood world” which houses her problems, including her inability to connect with her sister (109).  Thus, Eri is only able to start to escape her own world and wake up once Mari tries to reconnect to her sister  which solves the problem that drove Eri  into her own isolated world to begin with.  Mari reconnects with her sister in the same way that they first connected when they were children trapped in an elevator where they clung to each other to the point that they shared the same heartbeat.  It is there when the darkness hid the flesh-and-blood world and allowed the sisters to connect on a more personal level.  The novel may highlight the loneliness and isolation of people as they are trapped in their own individual worlds, but shows hope of an ability to connect with one another beyond the plane of reality.




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2 responses to “Connection and Isolation of Individual Worlds

  1. I completely agree with you post and to add on to this, there are many other instances where the novel comments on individuality. This individuality is an extreme one where people live in there own worlds and can not associate with others of different worlds. An example of this is when Mari is speaking of the Chinese prostitute and says that she had a strong urge to become her friend when she saw her but that “‘…it doesn’t matter how I feel: the worlds we live in are too different. And there’s nothing I can do about it’” (Murakami 158). Another instance of the novel talking about people being in different worlds is when Takahashi speaks of the criminals belonging to a different world than himself.

  2. I totally agree with your post! I think it is very interesting how individuality is dealt with in the novel. Usually, being an individual is encouraged and approved of, but it seems to me that in the book it is almost viewed in a negative way. With Koaru, her individuality is expressed through her size, and the fact that she is a very strong woman (mentally and physically). All the characters in the book seem to be complete individuals, and none of them seem to fit in any specific crowd. I find this very interesting, because it singles them out.

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