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I felt like this a lot after my experience with the vanishing elephant. I would begin to think I wanted to do something, but then I would become incapable of distinguishing between the probable results of doing it and of not doing it.(465)

This story represents anxiety and closing yourself off to the world. The emphasis is on the narrator and his thoughts, views, and actions after the elephant disappears. The narrator does not act at any point. Instead, he sits on a cliff watching his life pass before his eyes while he does the “pragmatic thing-to-do.” Even a decrepit old elephant could break away from his bonds to pursue a different life, but still the narrator stays. As much as the narrator tries to focus the story on the vanishing elephant, it his fixation on the elephant that matters. The elephant only matters in relation to the narrator. But instead, the narrator never faces his own life and his own decisions. He has no self-awareness over the decisions he has chosen to pass-on. It is almost as if he has given up of his life and would rather live the life of the elephant. He lets his anxiety keep him from dating the woman, calling the police with his theories, and even pursuing a profession that he would find interesting. Instead, he does the same mindless tasks every day.

One Response to “Haruki Murakami’s “The Elephant Vanishes””

  1. Not sure what you mean by this sentence: “He has no self-awareness over the decisions he has chosen to pass-on.”

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