literary analysis

Topics: Haruki Murakami, Japanese people, Japan Pages: 6 (1600 words) Published: October 14, 2014
Angelica Abordonado
David Uedoi
English 100
23 September 2014
A Natural and Privatized life
Haruki Murakami, a Japanese writer of short story, The Year of Spaghetti. The depiction of Murakami’s stories with point-of-view narratives provides certain distinctiveness to the characters, depending on how the dialogue is conveyed. The abstract things the narrator says and does provide the idea of human isolation with little feelings of fear. Although the story has no definitive plot, it grabs hold of conflicting emotions between fear and loneliness. The unnamed protagonist in The Year of Spaghetti, illustrates the meaning of loneliness through naturalization and privatization. According to the Article, Murakami Haruki and the Naturalization of Modernity, “Privatization is the process that makes naturalization possible.” (Cassegard 87) The first paragraph of Haruki’s story, The Year of Spaghetti, already shows how alone and private his life it. He says, “I cooked spaghetti to live, and lived to cook spaghetti.” (pg. 178) It already seems as if his mind is made up for the rest of his life. That he has found his life’s calling to cook spaghetti every day and every night. That is what is natural to him. Naturalization means, “that one has grown used to an environment that was once shocking.” (Cassegard 83) Nothing really phases him, however, he could not have reached naturalization without having privatization occur first. Privatization is: The process whereby individuals “become used” to solitude, or—to be more precise—their instinctual needs and fundamental impulses become channeled in such a way that their gratification is made less dependent on relations to other people. The term does not imply that human interaction decreases, but stands for the subjective process whereby such interactions become less important as sources of gratification for individuals. (Cassegard 87)

This explains how the protagonist in this story can be conveyed as someone who is lonely, hurt, and avoiding the rest of the world, but could actually just be content with life. Privatization explains that the interactions with other people are not necessarily something he is bad at or is avoiding, but just has less interest in it.

The story then goes on to how the protagonist’s phone rang and how he could barely even recognize the fact that someone was calling him. This was due to the fact that he does not call nor get calls regularly. This is a shock to the protagonist because he was not expecting anyone to call or talk to him. As he answered the phone it was his friend’s ex girlfriend and by the sound of her voice he already knew she needed some kind of help. He then says to himself, “whatever trouble was brewing I knew I didn’t want to get involved.” (Murakami 180) Before even knowing what the girl’s problem was he already knew he did not want any part of it. This is part of his privatized life. According to Cassegard, “Their peace of mind is paid for by loneliness.” (pg. 87) Cassegard is trying to say that Murakami’s protagonist likes being alone and therefore, knows, getting involved in any type of way with this girl or anyone else for that matter will interfere with him being alone. He is so use to his everyday life of buying different types of spaghetti every week, cooking it in his, “huge aluminum cooking pot, big enough to bathe a German shepard in.” (Murakami 178), then eating it all by himself. Perhaps the German shepard is also a symbol of loneliness because this is all he did in 1971. He did it everyday and that is what he sees as normal. He kept his life privatized like this and that is why nothing is a shock to him, because it is natural to him.

The protagonist’s tone in the story sounds content with subtle undertones of fear. It is like the spaghetti has some type of deeper meaning in accordance to his loneliness. When explaining how spaghetti is cooked a specific type of way he also mentions more than once how he must eat it...


Cited: Cassegard, Carl. "Murakami Haruki And The Naturalization Of Modernity." International Journal Of Japanese Sociology 10.1 (2001): 80-92. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Sept. 2014.
DiConsiglio, John. "Haruki Murakami Stinks." Literary Cavalcade 51.4 (1999): 15. Academic Search Premier. Web. 25 Sept. 2014.
Murakami, Haruki. "The Year of Spaghetti." (2005): 178-83. Web.
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