About the novel
The literary analysis of Norwegian Wood is not just limited to explain what is been said. Rather, this novel offers more from between the lines.
The story is set in the era of 19602 when Japan was facing the call for revolution and change in social scene.
Students at Toru Watanabe ( protagonist) are also protesting to abolish the privileged university system. They wanted to get rid of the capitalism structure which is exploiting and destroying students in every possible way. During all this chaos Toru is busy in his own self. The novel express that how one’s intense grief could isolate them and detached from the changing surroundings.
Literary analysis of Norwegian Wood: Chapter 6
Toru went to see Naoko at the sanatorium and through his journey, he passed through the dense, misty forest. This journey shows his own expedition through the adult life. Forest symbolises the difficulties that these youngsters are going through. The troubles they are facing in order to cross the age of maturity in a lively and wholesome manner.
The environment of Ami Hostel felt so peaceful and nerve calming to Toru. He was not there for any treatment, but the strong vibes of the place hit him too.
At the hostel, he met with a woman who seems like Naoko’s doctor. She was not rigid and serious like usual doctors rather her appearance was very kind and sensitive. Toru was skeptic after meeting her if the sanatorium doctors are like this.
When Toru came to know that this woman named Reiko is not any doctor, but patient like Naoko here, he understood that things are atypical at Ami’s. This place has distinguished and special sort of healing procedure.
The reality of this place was that one has to be loyal and accountable for their emotions, which is a demanding task for Naoko. However, Naoko is doing well in the place and overcoming her various personal shortcomings. She is trying to learn about sharpening her communication, acknowledge her past and think forward.
Ami hostel has this strange effect on it habitants that once people come here in search of peace, they hardly want to go back to this world. It reflects that Ami hostel is the safe place for those who wants to be secured from sufferings and terrible reality of death.
Toru gets a bit amazed that Reiko is aware of all the details of his relationship with Naoko. He did not show his surprise to her, though. Reiko has this belief that if there is some way to healing, then it is by saying everything inside you. On these basis, Toru is ready to pick any possible way that could lead to recovery of Naoko even if he has to appear weak.
Toru Meeting Naoko at Ami
Meeting after months, Toru and Naoko had this pleasant, warm, and in-depth feeling, which is sentimental and intimidating. Though, in Tokyo they were alone and had freedom to do anything, but their absence of emotions made them enable to connect with each other. At Ami Hostel, the situation is other way round, they are present together, but the way of expressing themselves is restrictive.
The environment at Ami Hostel continues to put astonish Toru. This is the place, which gives you the chance to be yourself and express in a way that comforts you. It was also distinctive for Toru to act differently as he was acting back at university, all alone and detached.
Literary analysis Norwegian wood as a song
In the later passage, Naoko establishes the foremost solid connection between Norwegian Wood song, which is the metaphor for forest, feeling of deprivation, withdrawal and sadness.
This time, when Toru and Naoko spoke, they talked openly about many things. Things that they could not discuss earlier in their relationship. They revealed their feelings that how they have hurt each other and looked for answers from each other.
After that, Naoko disclosed her fear for sex and this will be seen overall the novel. It plays a greater role in affecting their relationship and Naoko’s fears about being intimate with the someone. When she admitted her issues of intimacy in front of Toru, they went for a walk together. Their walk through the forest, which is also a symbol of deprivation and death. It also reflects that she is living in the past due to which she is unable to open to any other person just like she was unable to respond to Kizuki, sexually. The scenery is also relating with her condition of lack of sexual attraction towards other person, which will lead to serious outcomes in future.
Listening to Naoko’s feelings was something very new for Toru. Sharing his own feelings was also something unusual for him that he felt like if they have made some mistake. On the other hand, Reiko believes that feeling hurtful is a process of healing and entirely healthy. She emphasizes on communicating more even if they are not feeling like doing so.
About Toru, he is in real not confused about his love for Naoko, but he is unsure about his own feelings that whether he will be able to do it or not. He does not know if he can assist Naoko with her intimacy problem with other person. On the other hand, he also believes that both of them must help even if it will take all their life.
Reiko sharing her past
Reiko is living in this hostel by keeping all its regulations in mind and trying her best to recover. She shared her past with Toru and assured him that she had been through that part of life as well. She understands that how does it feel to be taken over by anxiety, self-doubt, and obstacles. This is why, she and Naoko has such good bonding with each other.
Reiko had been a lot in her life when she came across other’s judgment, prejudiced behaviour. Still, she was able to show her gentle, helping, and loving side to other people. In comparison of Naoko and Toru, Reiko and Midori face the hardships of life. ]
Reiko has her own dark story to tell, but she is being careful about how much she can open to a stranger. Thus, initially, she tells teh first part of her story only.
Naoko Bridging the communication gap
During Toru’s stay in hostel, Naoko begins to talk about Kizuki, a topic which was a no go area earlier. Naoko has this difficulty in describing her relationship with Kizuki because they both were friend since childhood and his sudden death disturbed her to the core. Even though, he was her boyfriend, but his place was more special than that in Naoko’s life.
Naoko’s surprise visit to Toru
Later in the night, Naoko came to Toru in a way that never happened before. As from Naoko’s, it was indeed a very bold move because she was a very reserved and closed person. If this is happening for real, then it is a sign that Naoko is improving and overcoming her fear of sharing.
Next morning, Naoko seems unaware of the last night. It made Toru perplexed whether it all took place in real or he was imagining Naoko in front of him. This thought stayed with him the whole morning.
This morning, three of them journeyed into the forest together. It was a symbolic trip too because they were going into their sorrows and survival together.
Reiko is very much willing to out Naoko back on track so that she could move on with Toru. She has to go against the rules of Ami hostel, but she is even neglecting them just for the sake of these two.
All over the novel, at many places, the unusual combination of sex and death is very bizarre. When Naoko was bringing Toru to the climax, she was speaking of her hearing the voices of Kizuki which is calling her to join him in the expedition of death.
Naoko’s connection with Suicide
When Naoko and Toru are finally talking about it, she opens about that was eating her soul. She told him about finding her sister’s dead body in her room one day. It was not just Kizuki who she has encountered first, but she came across such incident before in her life as well. It all certainly sounds very disturbing. Suicide was running in her family and it affected her mental health. She has death thoughts every time on her mind. This tragic reason clouds her mind all the time that she might end up taking her own life.
Sad end of Reiko’s past
Reiko is telling her whole life story to Toru who is no one to her, but she has sensed that he can be trusted.
Reiko’s past was also like that she was a concealed person. Someone, who likes to stay in her zone so that no one would judge her. Her story was about a person who betrayed her in the name of friendship and a pupil. She caused unbearable harm to Reiko’s personal and professional life.
When Reiko thinks about that incident, she is covered with the emotions of reminiscence and remorse. Reiko was helpful and fascinated by her pupil. Now she thinks of her, she is only gathered by anguish, sadness, and treachery. That girl pupil ruined her life.
The overall story of Reiko was a unconventional. It was blunt, prohibited, and has the brewed with the sentiments of obsession and humiliation. If it said that Reiko was a wounded student of people’s cruelty and disloyalty, then it will not be wrong.
Further in the novel, Reiko tells that how her reputation was tarnished by that student of hers. While Reiko was thinking that she is not coming out of guilt, in real, she spread malicious gossips about her. Reiko’s neighbours were now blaming her for mishap with that student, making basis on her past metal health issues. No one was understanding Reiko’s situation or believing her innocence.
Reiko aslo has her links with suicide where she tried it, but could not be successful. She has come across a moment in her life when she wanted to end her life. This is the reason that she can relate better with Naoko and understand her position.
Reiko opened up in front of Toru and this was her ground upon which she is not ready to go back to the real world.
On the last stay of Toru at Ami’s, Naoko again visited him and it was enough to make him believe that first night was definitely a reality.
Toru chooses Tokyo
When Toru is passing through the forest around Ami’s hostel, he felt sad to leave his friends behind. But, he chose to go and live out there while facing his fears unlike his friends.
Toru’s back to the real world experience is going disordered and upsetting. He is disturbed with the roughness and glitz of Tokyo. He pushed back all the rudimentary sexuality around him and found himself been induced with the thoughts of Naoko.
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