BY PEDRO MACE
How symbolic are object and materials in “Kitchen” and “A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch”?
Table of Contents
|How symbolic are object and materials in “Kitchen” and “A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch”? |1 | |Bibliography |6 |
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
The Kitchen featured another story entitled Moonlight Shadows and it is easily notable how both stories were about a young woman who had to deal with the loss of an important person in her life as she moves on with the events in the novel. From the creative mind of Banana Yoshimoto, Kitchen tells a story of a young woman who lost the only living family she had – her grandmother. To cope with the loneliness, she turned to cooking and to the memories that filled the house she shared with her grandmother. Throughout the novel, numerous items were used to symbolize various concepts, emotions and events that Mikage and the other characters of the story had to deal with. The refrigerator was a significant piece of appliance that belonged to the house where Mikage and her grandmother lived. After the death of her grandmother, Mikage would spend hours just listening to the refrigerator’s vibrating sound. The refrigerator was a reminder to Mikage of the days she spent with her grandmother and how vivid the refrigerator is in her memory of her grandmother. In the kitchen, she feels wrapped in a blanket, like Linus (5). How she would always listen to the refrigerator made the statement in the book, "Truly happy memories always live on, shining. Over time, one by one, they come back to life," easier to understand and appreciate. Through the refrigerator and other items in Mikage had, she was able to bring back to life the happy memories she had with her grandmother. Another significant item in the novel is the “magnificent juicer” that Eriko, Yuichi’s father-turned-mother (31). According to Eriko, with the juicer they would be able to drink fresh fruit juices to have beautiful skin. This showed how Eriko truly embraces the transformation from being a father to a mother while trying to influence Mikage of his attitude towards youthful beauty. Mikage’s sofa was also a significant part of the story. She would often refer to it as her sofa and not just a sofa (40). The sofa was able to denote how Mikage still felt connected to her and her grandmother’s house. Always indicating that the sofa belonged to her also showed how much she valued this item of hers. Mikage clung to a number of her belongings. She clung on to these items as she clung onto the memories that she cherished so much. Yuichi’s fountain pen is another item significant in the novel. Yuichi valued this pen very much. Yuichi was seeing a girl named Sotaro who was frustrated with their relationship. She felt unimportant and angry. According to her, Yuichi can’t value a girl more than he can value his fountain pen (29). In the novel, it was evident all throughout how the characters valued and clung to their belongings based on various reasons such as sentimental or functional. Plants and flowers can be seen throughout the novel as well. These plants and flowers represent significant memories of both Yuichi and Mikage. Mikage’s grandmother used to love growing flowers and would exert much effort in visiting a flower shop and doing so much just to care for flowers. On the other hand Yuichi’s father Eriko would love to care for and fill their house with plants. The Kitchen is a novel filled with various contrasting themes. One example is the contrast between lightness and darkness. With the numerous objects mentioned in the novel, the novel shows that there is no need for obtaining object but a will for doing so. Many of the objects also represented social status and issues concerning the story. Hierarchy was also...
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