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“The Elephant Vanishes” by Haruki Murakami employs a unique way of storytelling. Unlike most first person narration, “The Elephant Vanishes” takes on a passive or observer tone. This self-disassociation that the narrator chooses to have with the story he is telling gives us, the readers, a chance to see the internal unbalance of the narrator.

By the narrator taking on a distancing form of speech for the majority of the short story, it emphasizes the parts that are told in an active or normal form of speech. For example, on page 459 the narrator switches from talking about the elephant to meeting a woman, but in that change of subject the narrator switches the way he speaks. It’s in this change of speech that we know that we have reached the climax. That the following lines are very important to the narrator’s state of mind, and it’s true that from page 459 to page 465 the narrator is constantly switching back and forth between those two forms of speech. Emphasizing lines like:

“in size. of their bodies. The elephant’s and the keeper’s. The balance seemed to have changed somewhat. I had the feeling that to some extent the difference between them had shrunk.”(463-464)

Lines like this one show that the balance within the narrator is off, similar to that of the elephant and its keeper.

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