After The Kobe Earthquake Research Paper

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“After the quake” is an assembly of six short stories written by Japanese author Haruki Murakami. The Kobe Earthquake, which took place in the early hours of January 17, 1995, let off a 7.2 magnitude that lasted roughly twenty seconds-shocking the world around them, taking over five thousand lives–most of were taken in the heart of Kobe. In Murakami’s book, after the quake, the six stories explore the seemingly tangential, yet very real, effect of the earthquake on a series of Japanese characters. Murakami would claim that the feeling of emptiness, especially after any type of natural disaster such as the Kobe earthquake, is an intrinsic aspect of human nature. Each short story channels these Japenese characters who live day by day haunted…show more content…
On the sixth day, when her husband Komura, a salesman at a hi-fi-equipment store in Tokyo, comes home, she is nowhere to be found. Nothing but a note left behind that stated, “You are good, kind and handsome, but living with you is like living with a chunk of air”(6). Komura doesn’t show any emotional reactions to his wife’s sudden disappearance. One of his classmates tells him that if he delivers a small package for him to his younger sister in the city of Kushiro, then he will pay for his airfare and hotel. When the sister, Keiko, along with a friend Shimao, meet Komura at the airport he explains to Shimao that he does not think his wife’s departure had anything to do with the earthquake. Keiko and Shimao attempt to have sex but Kushiro can’t because he has been uncontrollably reminded of the images that retell the devastating earthquake. Kushiro conveys her about his wife’s note, and she questions if there is truly nothing inside of him asking, “A chunk of air?”... “What does the even mean”(21). This perhaps catches the human trait of emptiness that lingers inside Kushiro when he himself asks what “nothing” inside of him could possibly be, and she goes on to suggest that the box he brought holds the “something” inside of him that he will never get back. Closing the story, the most pessimistic in the assortment, Kieko grasps the emptiness inside…show more content…
The fire in this short story serves as a source of self-reflection. Junko describes her thoughts as she gazes into the flicker of the fire “The flame accepted all things in silence, drank them in, understood, and forgave”(32). As Junko dazes into the flames before her, she reflects the emptiness that continues to rot within her, hinting towards the roots of her worries stating, “A family, a real family, was probably like this, she thought”(32). Junko’s self-reflection reveals her desire for a support system—a family something that she has never completely had in her life, but now needs more than ever. Miyake tries to tell Junko that the flames can show her the hidden, silent kind of feeling within her. Similar to Komura in the first story, Junko says she is empty. Once the fire comes to an end they discuss committing suicide together. That same night, before the fire goes out, Miyake tell Junko that she may fall asleep but as soon as the fire goes out she will feel the cold and wake up again. The fire tends to symbolize a temporary source of comfort that Junko is dependent on to nurse the emptiness that consumes

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