“A Very Happy Birthday”
A Critical Analysis of “Birthday Girl” by Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami’s “Birthday Girl” is a piece that can take the reader into the past and help us analyze if any of our wishes ever came true. Hopefully we all reach those birthday milestones and we get whatever it is we wished for. The main character in this story has reached an important milestone birthday in Japan. At 20 you are a full fledged adult, a member of Japanese society so this birthday is special. The main character however has had a horrible day. Most would think that this is a cut and dry story however it is not. Although short the complexity of the story brings you to a climax and then leaves you more confused even after you do a literary analysis of it. This story appeals to the masses because it simply asks you to ask yourself if you could be granted one wish what would that wish be? Repression functions as a wiping out of the consciousness of specific, unhappy, psychological events. Everyone has had horrible breakdowns and bad birthdays in our life. Thinking of it in a deeper way though, from kids we are taught that our birthday is special. When your mom wakes you up with your birthday breakfast, lunch and dinner that day is made special. As a kid you count down the hours, minutes, and seconds to that day. Psychologically as a kid you don’t know as you get older they will become less and less significant. My Birthday is July 25 and my mother God rests her soul always made sure I had what I wanted and needed for my special day this is what made “Birthday Girl” relatable. The main character whose birthday is forgotten by everyone and no one remembers to tell her Happy Birthday except an old man. Defenses and defense mechanisms work to try to keep those traumatic experiences we’ve repressed locked deep in our unconscious. They are “the processes by which we keep the repressed, repressed in order to avoid knowing what we...
Bibliography: Murakami, Haruki(2004). “Birthday Girl”. In Peter Schakel and Jack Ridl Approaching Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing” 3rd edition(pp 471-481) . Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins.
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