Dialogue is Action


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Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 0
March 13, 2020 5:22 pm  

I'm not very far into the book so far, but I've noticed that the narration in the Wind Up Bird Chronicle is different than in the other books we've read. The existence of the Japanese formal and informal "I" instantly sets the novel apart from the others. In Turn of the Screw and Heart of Darkness, the information was being relayed to the reader through a chain of narrators. In Flatland and Invisible Man, the information was told to us directly by the narrator, although they may have been unreliable. The existence of boku used by the narrator in the Wind Up Bird Chronicle to speak about himself completely alters our understanding of the novel compared to the others we've read. The narrator isn't telling us a story, but rather we're looking into the narrator's deepest most personal thoughts. However, does this give us the ability to say that without a doubt, the narrator isn't unreliable? If all we're reading is all there is for him, could there be another perspective we're not seeing?

Bookworm AP Lit 2020
Joined: 11 months ago
Posts: 126
March 13, 2020 7:24 pm  

It's so odd at this point in the year to read a narrator who doesn't to be mentally unstable to the point that they are unreliable, like the governess or IM. This narrator, like you said, is telling us the whole truth because it is more like we are seeing his life through his eyes and less of a story telling. With the presence of "boku" instead of "watashi'' we have a new challenge now, like Chisnell said. If we are given everything at face value, where else could meaning be hidden? Before we had to look past the narrator and see the narrator's faults in order to get the truth of the meaning of the book. Now that the narrator is being completely truthful, I feel we are going to be analyzing this book in class in a very different way than our other books. Do you guys know that we are going to have different kinds of discussions in class now that this narrator is so different from the others? Do you think that we can analyze this book in the same way even though the true meaning of the book may be found in different places than what we are used to?

Gnome AP Lit 2020
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 67
March 23, 2020 8:32 pm  


I believe you are bringing up an interesting point on the books we have read and how they are very different from the one we are reading now. I think the notion of us getting the information of what's going on through someone who is actually storytelling it as it happens is very important to the bias of the content and the reliability of it. As you brought up the ideas incorporated with marlow and the governess, we can have some sort of conclusion that they are not as reliable based on everything that they had gone through and what they were telling the story from. I think it's going to be interesting to see how we see it unfold with murakami's work as it is a much different vibe.


Steve Chisnell
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March 25, 2020 1:51 pm  

I like this string of thought.  Maybe start with a quick map/chart of our former narrators:

Square of Flatland1st person retrospectConfessional; fails to use reason
IM of IM1st person retrospectConfessional; fails to see reality; absolves himself of responsibility and identity
Leontes of Winter's Tale3rd person present-tensePersonal insecurity causes blindness to love; replaces it with jealousy
Governess of TofS1st person retrospectConfessional; still blind, attempts to justify/defend horrors at the manor
Marlow of HofD1st person retrospectConfessional? resigned to being ignored even when telling the truth he knows

Toru of WUBC

1st person present-tenseDetached/passive narration; fails to know his wife? (Too early to tell)

There are definitely some patterns here. Grace is right that some of these books have some nested narrations, but at some point, this kind of happens for Creta, Mamiya, and others who tell their stories to us through Toru. So  there is a filtering going on here, too. As if Toru is a conduit for the narrations of others . . . .


Bookworm AP Lit 2020
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 143
April 23, 2020 2:16 pm  

One thing I find so interesting about the narration of the novels we have read is how the point of views may change the story. So far as @schisnell has mentioned, many of our novels were 1st person retrospect. We have a change in this trend with Murakami's character and narrator Toru. This is present tense and is from his perspective so rather than having an experienced narrator reviewing events . Toru is reacting to new experiences in the book right along with us. I think I will enjoy looking into how he reacts versus how the majority of us may in his situation.


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