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The Second Bakery Attack
This could also be considered not taking responsibility for your actions. The narrator uses societal conflicts as a scapegoat for these characters and their wrongdoings. They made the choices themselves, and the narrator saying what he says in the beginning makes it seem like they weren't at fault for their choices that they made.
@delphine while I was reading your post I had a thought. The reason why it is shown that the wife seems to have done this before is to show that the effect of this "curse". By showing that she seems to know what to do it shows us that she once too had some wildness, was once not held down by society- but now she too feels the same entrapment that our narrator feels. I think by showing the wife in this light we see that it is not just our narrator that is feeling hungry within his mundane life, but so too is his new wife!
@nikki I like that you brought up the point about the two only being married for two weeks! That is so fast that the two of them got bored with their lives! Do you think that is the point Marukami is making that the trap of this boring life doesn't even build up, but it is just instant? Or do you think it is almost like anticipation for the the future, like they feel trapped just thinking about their future? The two of them almost seem sick of each other, when he made jokes she just ignored him. She could've just been annoyed in the moment, but do you think this says something more? I also noticed this part, I don't know if anyone else did, it is about how he automatically agrees with his wife "Not being Sigmund Freud, I was, of course, unable to analyze with any precision what this image signified, but I knew intuitively that it was a revelation." I found this line a bit peculiar- did anyone else notice it?
@nikki yeah I see it know. After having discussed this piece in Chisnells class the boring life he leads is extremely normal. So normal that I even missed the point of the literature. I also saw that him having no food was not normal so I focused on that instead and found little because I hadn't grasped the fact that he was living a mediocre life.
@gil When you think about they have been living mundane lives up until that point when they both decide to rob a bakery. Meanwhile Murakami didn't explicitly build up the characters like we would expect out of a western author he did allow us to make some inferences about their past life that led them to this moment when they decide to rob a bakery. It was definitely early in their marriage but sort of late when talking about their age.
@msar I didn't think to compare how it would be if a Western author wrote this story. Something else I noticed was how the story is set in the past, so while things seem pretty rough after only being married two weeks, he write "why can't I remember the exact year we married?" suggesting that they remain married to whenever the story is being told. Murakami managed to tell all that was needed in only one phrase.
@msar These are definitely important points to pick up on, I'm glad you have now! I agree, the fact that they didn't have food is super strange. That was one of the first things that struck me as off in this piece. Why wouldn't they have more food? I think there's a lot to be gathered just from that.
@gil I honestly think that the boredom of their marriage was an instant effect. The fact that they're two weeks in, and they already seem, as you said, almost sick of each other, seems to signify monotony and dullness early on. I think that her ignoring his jokes could be emphasis on her extreme hunger, but it also could be her disinterest in him. I'm not sure which, possibly both.
@theboulder I hadn't taken note of this! This is actually really interesting. I find it especially strange because the marriage seems a bit rough (for lack of a better adjective) two weeks in. They seem bored and uninterested in each other, so the fact that the marriage lasted is something to take note of for sure.
@msar the lack of character development is something we aren't as used to in our typical pieces of literature. We are presented with these characters who are hungry, restless, bored, and recently married. Then we find out that the husband has attack a bakery. Then, the characters with whom we are pretty much unfamiliar attack a McDonalds. We essentially have to learn about the characters from their actions alone.
@xmysterio this is an interesting observation. I think it's clear that they are at fault for their actions and any consequences that result, but the author has the piece in an almost nonchalant tone that diminishes the severity of their actions. This is important to take note of, since the action of attacking a restaurant is extremely serious.
@gil I totally agree. I think the wife was probably drawn to him in the first place because she sensed that wildness she now lacks, but once had. One could even argue that the wife is more of the perpetrator of this wild behavior. I interpreted the husband as someone who always wanted to break free from society, but feared societal standards and the backlash he may face. All he needed was some encouragement in order to break out of his shell and act "wildly", hence his armed robbery of a McDonalds.
Some may argue that he had previously robbed a bakery. How can the wife be the perpetrator of his actions? It seems to me that that attempt was merely that: an attempt. He attempted to break free, but obviously failed, and was discouraged from breaking out of the capitalistic society again without a bit of encouragement.
@xmysterio, I'm interested to know whether you think the characters are at fault or not. Can we blame them for wanting to break out of the mundane? Or do we blame society for creating this type of environment where people feel value by doing something out of the ordinary like violence or crime. Or is the problem that we don't hold individuals accountable and rather blame things on society.
@xmysterio, good point. To me, it seems like the characters have no choice in the matter. There is talk of a curse that seems to force the characters into action. The characters don't seem to have a powerful motivation for what they do. It's not for money; it seems more out of obligation that they do what they do.
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