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Oshima's Reveal


Gil
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**SPOILERS FOR CHAPTER 19**

Within this forum, I want to focus on the ideas brought up in chapter 19, but if you would also like to discuss Oshima's character (like why is he going so out of his way to help Kafka?) that would be great too. 

In this chapter, we meet two very annoying women that claim they are making a difference when they really are not. These women accuse Oshima of being a patriarchic male, when ironically Oshima reveals he is biologically female! I find this chapter really interesting because these women claim that they are there for women's rights, when they are basically making up problems, like there not being a women's bathroom in this tiny library. This sensitivity is something that is very common in our society today, these women reminded of what we see on the internet and in person constantly, people seem to be offended so easily now out of nothing. There are so many of these narrow minded people, even though they act like they are being progressive, they are the ones that are making assumptions, "Callous people who throw a lot of empty words at you, trying to force you to do what you don't want to do."

What did you guys notice in this chapter? What did you think of it? 


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Nicole
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This scene was definitely riddled with irony. I was definitely NOT expecting Oshima to reveal that he was biologically female, but I loved his responses to the two women. I was very much reminded of a lot of things that we see today where people create problems just to say that there is a problem. I'm kind of reminded of our discussion in class yesterday about feminism and the example of the feminist exotic dancer. Mr. Chisnell asserted that we have no right to say whether or not she is a feminist, and it is up to her to decide if she is or isn't a feminist, and what that means to her. In sort of the same way, the two women took it upon themselves to describe Oshima as "pathetic, historical example of a patriarchal male." Both of these examples kind of raise the same question of "Who are you to decide what someone else is or isn't?" The women decided that Oshima is a patriarchal male since he defended the ordering of the books, and could their assumptions have been any more wrong!


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Nicole
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I also want to address your other question of why Oshima has invested so much energy into helping Kafka. It reminds me of the relationship between Hoshino and Nakata. (I think this is a bit later than chapter nineteen, so I'll try to avoid spoilers, but if you aren't past ~chapter 25 or 27 or so, maybe stop reading this post.) Hoshino starts off by just offering Nakata a ride to get him to Shikoku, which is pretty normal. But after a while he decides that he is going to stay with Nakata until the end of whatever Nakata needs to do. He feels sort of drawn to him. This connection kind of puzzled me a little bit, to be honest. And the same sort of thing is true for Kafka and Oshima. He started by helping Kafka in smaller ways--telling him about the library/books, covering for him when the hotel (I think) called about Kafka, etc. But then for seemingly almost no reason, he starts helping him in much more major ways--bringing him to the cabin, letting him stay in the library, etc. They become really close in a pretty short period of time. Could it just be fate bringing them together? Is it something they can't control? Is Oshima sort of like a "tool", for lack of a better word, to move along Kafka's prophesy and help him reach his fate (this is kind of how I saw Johnnie Walker's/Colonel Sanders' role in the book)? Or did they just kind of "click" and simply form a bond with each other when they met?


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Persephone
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Posted by: @nicole

"Who are you to decide what someone else is or isn't?"

Exactly! Regardless if Oshima revealed he was biologically female, the women in this chapter had no reason to attack him so aggressively. I also liked your reference to the feminist exotic dancer, because I feel that these women would be the ones to say you cant be a feminist and an exotic dancer at the same time. Moreover, I wonder how these ladies attitudes would've changed if they realized the owner of the library is in fact a woman haha.


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xwing37
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@persephone, I personally thought this entire part of the chapter was very surprising but hilarious. There really wasn't a problem with a library at all and the two women just wanted to start a problem. The fact that Oshima revealed that he was biologically a female shut them up quite quickly. I personally wasn't expecting it to happen and I thought Oshima was just going to out argue them with simple logic. But then he revealed that he was female to the women and it clearly got them to leave but it was just very unexpected. This was definitely one of my favorite chapters just because of this part.


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Carla Tortelli
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@xwing37 I agree, it was almost a casual surprise. We were inform on bits and pieces of his life so I was waiting for more info. The casual way he introduced it was pretty cool, it usually is a serious sit down talk in most books. As you said there was really no problem in the library, they just wanted to start something. The logic in his argument was valid, but they kept going with it. It got them to stop their one sided debate and it almost showed us how his and Kafka's relationship had advanced. He was comfortable enough with Kafka to just casually bring it up. I do sound like a broken record but I appreciate how this topic was presented in a more casual way, its not stigmatized in the writing. Hopefully that makes some sense.


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Carla Tortelli
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@persephone Oh for sure the way they just came at him was not ok or professional in any sense. You would think you would know all the facts of the establishment before coming after the employees there. If you were apart of an organization I would imagine you would be properly informed and definitely not approach any "issues" as they did. They would definitely be the types to say you cant be an exotic dancer and a feminist. Telling them that a women runs the library. Their attitudes would change but in what direction? Would they demand to see her or would they just let it be?


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MSAR
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You would think that the women who came to inspect the library would inspect and address the issues with the owners of the libraries reasonably. Nitpicking the most little and least impactful things which won't impact the change in society that the women seek. Endlessly arguing with Oshima which leads them nowhere and places them in a bad light (at least that is what I got out of it). And it's even more confusing when they say they come here to inspect the library from the 'viewpoint of women' when the library is supervised and ran by Miss Saeki. Is there something Miss Saeki is doing wrong? Is she not looking out for herself or other people like herself? Or were the other two women wrong in pointing out the flaws in a small and relatively meaningless library?


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