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Examine the Relationship between Dreams and Reality as They Are Explained in The Sorrow of Warand The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

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Examine the Relationship between Dreams and Reality as They Are Explained in The Sorrow of War and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Toru Okada and Kien both have experienced the grey area that lies between dreams and reality. The purpose of Okada's dreams, however, is mainly attempting to recover his missing wife. Kien's dreams, on the other hand, are not as significant but they do have a great impact into his life. Okada was able to bring his life nearly back to normal, whereas Kien cannot. The Wind-up Bird Chronicle is a perplexing and bewildering book, in which the real is mixed with the surreal. Historical events specifically based on World War II are somehow related to the modern world of spirits and dreams. Toru Okada is considered to be a 'real' character, a totally ordinary man with an ordinary life. "After lunch, I went to my library book on the living room sofa." (p.6) yet within ten minutes in a particular day, Okada's normal life becomes disrupted when the world of dreams invades his reality. In the beginning of the story Okada received a mysterious call by an enigmatic woman whom Okada didn't recognize. The woman wanted the both of them to understand each other. ...read more.


This kind of scenario exists only in an ideal world --- or the dream world. Yet Okada is experiencing this in the real world, which indicates that part of a dream world had already mixed in with the real world. Meeting so many strange people within a year is also considered as strange, especially in the real world. Nevertheless, Nutmeg helped Okada to reach the dream world by purchasing the 'Hanging House', which is what people in Okada's neighbourhood believed because everything bad happens there, and giving full access to the dried-up well. In Okada's attempt to find the cause and meaning of the events that affected his life, he spent a great deal of time talking to Lieutenant Mamiya, Mr. Honda's friend and comrade. Mr. Honda is a practitioner of spirit possession and also a favourite medium type by Kumiko's family. Okada and Kumiko used to visit Mr. Honda every once a month and he seems to like Okada, as he requested for Lieutenant Mamiya to deliver a keepsake to Okada when he died. Lieutenant Mamiya told Okada the story of his experience at war fighting the Russians and the time when he was trapped in a well. Mamiya had odd visions or hallucinations when he was in the well, but he was never able to tell what it is, "...something is trying to take shape there." ...read more.


It is undoubtedly strange that a voice of laughter would be heard in a jungle believed to be haunted due to the war, and yet it exists in the ears of Kien. Kien at the end of the book disappeared for no known reason. Everything he owned was in place and nothing seemed to be taken. "...He left his door open...the wind blew through his curtained window, letting drizzle into the room." (p.213) The description of the room gives a dream-like atmosphere, though it does not indicate dream invading reality, but possibly the grey area of dream and reality. The atmosphere also gives out a surrealistic view of the room, specifically a still life. He seemed to disappear every now and then yet his neighbors don't care a lot about him as he has a strange personality in his late age. Okada and Kien had suffered through a lot of pain through the grayness of their worlds. Okada was in a way more fortunate than Kien, but his experience with the concoction of the world of dreams and reality is truly more intense than what Kien experienced, and that may be what makes up the downside of his life. Kien may have not had such an intense experience in the world of dreams and reality, what his overall pain may be greater than the ones that exist in Okada's. ...read more.

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