• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Sleep is a short story set in Japan from Haruki Murakamis anthology, The Elephant Vanishes. The passage chosen for commentary is extracted from Sleep and involves a female protagonist. Located on my page 105 to 106 of the anthology, the action in the p

Extracts from this document...


High Level English World Literature 2 Commentary Student: Kathy Nguyen Candidate Number: 003072 - 059 Teacher: Ms Townend Word Count: 1500 The Elephant Vanishes The protagonist's convoluted conception of sleep Sleep is a short story set in Japan from Haruki Murakami's anthology, The Elephant Vanishes. The passage chosen for commentary is extracted from Sleep and involves a female protagonist. Located on my page 105 to 106 of the anthology, the action in the passage takes place inside the protagonist's home at night, and the passage is narrated in first person and in present time. Within this passage, Murakami illustrates the protagonist's convoluted conception of sleep by manipulating the construction of the passage, the protagonist's persona and by presenting symbolisms of sleep. It is essential to explore these significant literary aspects of the passage as they enable readers to understand the protagonist's process of thoughts and actions. Murakami develops the protagonist's ambiguous chain of thoughts by effectively representing sleep as a parallel between death and escapism. The author uses conversational tone by writing in first person and presenting discussions of various ideas in order to portray the protagonist guiding herself through the notion of sleep. ...read more.


The protagonist reinforces the idea of escapism when she expresses "Maybe death is a kind of rest" (31) from reality. However the word "maybe" position readers to recognise that the protagonist is still filled with ambiguity and she also struggles to come to terms with her current physical state. Like all of Murakami's works, he effectively presents his characters as shifting effortlessly between the surface reality of a conventional, modelled life and the sensitized imagination. Murakami presents the protagonist from Sleep, trapped in her thoughts and cannot return back to reality. Murakami further confirms the protagonist's ambiguous frame of mind by writing, "Death can be anything at all" (33), which consequently sends the protagonist back to where her thoughts initially began. By distinctively presenting this passage as circular in structure and setting transitions between key notions and tones of the passage, Murakami emphasises the protagonist's circling thoughts and concepts of sleep. In the first paragraph of the passage Murakami gives readers an overview of the protagonist's condition, positioning readers to understand that the protagonist's "sleeplessness" (6) has been occurring for "seventeen days and seventeen nights" (8). The use of repetition and the short length sentences in these lines develops an emphatic and intense tone. ...read more.


(42-43). By climaxing with the question "what should I do", Murakami highlights and reinforces the subject of vagueness and complexity for the protagonist has been running in circle of thoughts all this time. In reflection to the Japanese themes and Murakami literature works, Murakami purposely writes Sleep to point out not only how much society does not know but moreover how much society cannot know. Sleep is one of the post modern short stories from Haruki Murakami contemporary Japanese fiction, The Elephant Vanishes. Within the passage extracted from Sleep, Murakami displays the female protagonist's complicated mindset and her struggle to grasp her indistinct thoughts. The protagonist forces herself to evaluate her circle of thoughts, all of which involves the parallels of sleep, death and escapism. Murakami develops a model of encircling ideas of sleep, death and escapism by manipulating the structure of the passage and in addition, utilising literary devices such as symbolisms, tone, diction and repetition. As a result of the structure of the passage and the utilisation of various literary devices, Murakami allows readers to comprehend the protagonist's 'circle of thoughts' and emphasises that the protagonist's ideas are all indefinable. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. William Trevors short stories explore several themes; faded love, hopeless marriage, as well as ...

    These outpourings and human descriptions of body language by Trevor are used to draw the reader in to the inner subject of the characters that allows the storyline to flow while gripping the reader. In the distant past Trevor captures the triteness of the town's social attitudes by focusing on everyday relationships during the Keynesian post war boom.

  2. The characters and narrative method of the short story "The bottom line and the ...

    The first one was like fairy tale - passionate and imprudent[?11]. Following ones were more sensible, as she began to realize the reasons of her misfortunes.

  1. Commentary on a passage Perfume: The Story of a Murderer This passage ...

    The first is the ruler of the kingdom of Scents, the latter, a mortal aiming to accomplish his mission; one is a spiritual symbol, the other, reality. This differentiation within Grenouille suggests complexity in his personality and reflects his worthiness of the existentialist cause.

  2. Symbolism in The Elephant Vanishes

    sent, and thus lacks any meaning to the grand scheme of life. This further suggests that possibly an individual's role in life and purpose is not of any relevance to other people, showing isolation from society and other Japanese citizens.

  1. Song of Solomon Commentary

    As fleet and bright as a lodestar he wheeled toward Guitar and it did not matter which of them would give up his ghost in the killing arms of his brother. For now he knew what Shalimar knew: If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it." (pg 337)

  2. The Birds by Daphne du Maurier: Commentary on a passage

    The sense of isolation to the world also helps with the effect on the readers to feel helplessness towards the main characters. Firstly, the Navy is not coming to help them, Nat?s biggest hope to survive was this, but instead his killers arrive.

  1. The Tyger Commentary

    Blake exemplifies the tiger?s superiority over the humans by comparing each characteristic with human characteristics. In the last two stanzas, Blake uses questions to exemplify the confusion in which may arise in the creation of the tiger. Blake exemplifies this confusion by questioning whether the tiger?s creator ?made the Lamb?.

  2. Watership Down. In the novel Watership Down by Richard Adams, the protagonist character ...

    Hazel will soon have to rethink the types of risks he takes when he realizes that he is not as indestructable as he may believe. In Chapter Twenty Five, Hazel and three other rabbits from Honeycomb return to the farmhouse in an attempt to free the does from the hutch.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work