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The Seventh Man by Haruki Murakarni
“The seventh man” by Haruki Murakarni talks about one man’s fears after his friend, K., was swallowed up by a terrifying, gigantic wave during the worst typhoon his town had seen in years. The author primarily uses imagery, symbolism, and foreboding in this story to construct a sense of fear and how he lives with this fear throughout his lifetime. At the beginning of the story, the author uses imagery to give the surroundings of the main character on a dark, weary night. “The small group that huddled in a circle could hear the wind tearing through the darkness outside, heading west. It shook the trees, set the windows to rattling, and moved past the house with one final whistle.” This gives the reader a feeling of fear by painting a picture of a scary, stormy night. The author also uses imagery later on in the seventh man’s story after K. had been washed away by the first wave, and they were waiting on the second. “The second wave was just as big as the first – maybe even bigger. From far above my head it began to fall, losing its shape, like a brick wall slowly crumbling. It was so huge that it no longer looked like a real wave.” By saying this, the main character shows his fear of the waves that were once so friendly and familiar to him. The author uses symbolism to create fear when the typhoon was starting up again, and the main characters friend K. was about to be devoured by the monstrous wave. “A wave like a huge snake with its head held high, poised to strike, was racing towards the shore. I had never seen anything like it in my life.” The author gives a sense of fear when he compares a snake to the wave, and it also makes the reader comprehend just how dangerous and deadly the wave really was. Before the wave hits and swallows K., the author gives the reader a sense of foreboding when the main character thinks, “They knew I was here, and they were planning to grab me. I felt as if some huge, man eating beast were lying somewhere on the grassy plain, dreaming of the moment it would pounce and tear me to pieces with its sharp teeth.” This was only moments before K. was swept away by the huge typhoon wave that had been rapidly creeping up on him. As soon as the wave hits, the main
character immediately feels fear and regret for not saving his best friend. In the story, the author uses imagery to generate a sense of sadness, anxiety, and fear. The author also uses symbolism of the snake to show the reader that the waves that were once so calm, peaceful, and familiar to the seventh man, turned dangerous and fierce like a poisonous snake. Finally, the author uses foreboding to compliment the main characters sense of fear before and after his beloved friend, K., vanished. The main character suffers for years over his fear and anxiety if losing K., “K. was always there, lying in the wave tip, grinning at me, his hand outstretched, beckoning. I couldn’t get that picture out of my mind. And when I managed to sleep, it was there in my dreams – except that, in my dreams, K. would hop out of his capsule in the wave and grab my wrist to drag me back in with him.” This quote shows the reader that the seventh man is still struggling with his fear years later, and wants the reader to know that, sometimes things happen that we will never get over, or forget.