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Picking Mushrooms


Nicole
(@nicole)
Bookworm AP Lit 2021
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At the beginning of the book, every other chapter is used to describe the scene of the class that goes to pick mushrooms, and all the children lose consciousness. After finishing the book, I'm wondering what the importance of some of the details of this event were. We obviously learn how Nakata became "dumb", as he describes it, but what else did it do for us? What was the point of everything the teacher wrote in her letter? Of course it could describe why Nakata took longer to regain consciousness, but is that it? Also did anyone else notice the similarities between the teacher and Miss Saeki? They can't be the same person, but there seemed to be a lot of similarities between the two, sort of like some of the similarities between Kafka and Nakata. But anyway, What was the importance of all the children losing consciousness? We never got an explanation about what happened on that day, so is it just another odd event that occurred, or was there a reason for what happened on that day on the mountain?


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TheBoulder
(@theboulder)
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The first thread I notice is between the soldiers in the woods and the idea of a nuclear testing thing (at this point I can't remember exactly what happened), in relation to WWII. I did notice how similar Miss Saeki and the woman were similar, I wonder if it's a jab at the monotony of life and an anti-invidualistic statement. I don't think there was meaning in the fact the other kids lost conscious. Or maybe I just can't see it. In real life, these questions don't get answered either. A case like that would be dropped, for the government would have no positive motivation to complete it. It would only make the U.S. look bad.


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wildsalmon
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It surely has something to do with Nakata himself. If somehow sense is made of who exactly he is, I think that will answer everything. He got "emptied out," and that seems to be why the monster came out of him, so perhaps the thing that caused the unconsciousness what whatever force Johnnie Walker is? This weird, USA type thing? It could just be as simple as all the kids were sort of "reprogrammed" by Western thinking, and Nakata stood for the small subsection of people who somehow resisted or weren't at all assimilated. 


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chizisqueen
(@aaparrot)
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@salmon That's a fair point you brought up. The connection to the Americans seems to support your line of thinking and it makes sense. Nakata is obviously characterised by not fitting into the fine lines of normality within society. I think the big thing here is showing the limiting mind of humans. There was no conclusion regarding Nakata's case since nothing seemed to fit the bill. It goes back to Murakami's larger idea of our thinking being inherently limited. Of course they weren't ever going to find the "true" cause behind this. However, they couldn't possibly comprehend anything they didn't already understand....


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