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Yesterday Analysis

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rooftopandy
Words 801
Pages 4
"Yesterday" by Haruki Murakami illustrates a strange relationship between two friends that meet while in Tokyo together and, in a strange turn of events, manage to develop a lasting relationship that stays with the main character many years after their few months together. The author creates a rather unusual atmosphere by crafting an unusual relationship between the three main characters. The message of this story is fanned throughout the story using symbol.
The age at which these characters are around happens to be at the time that a 'coming of age' is expected to be experienced by members of the Japanese culture. Prior to the age of 20 they are not allowed to drink or smoke. After this age they are expected to fully realize themselves as adults and have their minds made up about their future. This is shown in the story because this internal conflict happens right when they have crossed that threshold into adulthood. Erika and Kiratu are propelled into a world that expects them to know exactly where they wish to go in life. The fact that Kiratu has yet to pass his entrance exam into college and Erika has only had one love in her life for the entirety of her existence, the change is overwhelming to the both of them. By utilizing the image of a moon, the author creates a setting that can better show us how Erika fears that one day she may no longer be happy with someone who she is pleased with currently.
The main symbol that is used to tie the story together is the image of the moon is first introduced when Erika describes her dream that she frequently has. "We’re together in a small cabin, it’s late at night, and through the porthole we can see the full moon. But that moon is made of pure, transparent ice." From this, one can picture a setting that would be lonely if they did not have each other. With someone else, the moon is a romantic symbol that they two of them can look at when they are together. Conversely, the moon can represent solitude and detachment when you must experience it by yourself. The idea that the same symbol takes on two different meanings shows why Erika is trying to balance all of the outcomes of this relationship at once. At times, you can tell that Erika is uncertain of their relationship but her concise description helps one to think that she feels a strange sense of comfort when she is next to Kitaru. She states that she wants longs to try something different but can not escape the feelings that she has for Kitaru. The mentioning of what the moon is made of leads one to believe that she feels a little intimidated of facing an endless expanse of the world without someone. She wants to spend every night by his side watching the moon as it melts back into the ocean. By describing the moon as "cold" and "ice" one imagines a lonely, desolate world as described by many authors throughout history. Rather than "alone in a world blown clear of love," this image describes the same setting but by the side of someone who the character truly loves.
On the other hand the author also uses this to describe how the moon makes Erika feel lonely and untrusting of what is around her. "Maybe one night the moon wouldn’t be there. It scares me to think that. I get so frightened it’s like I can actually feel my body shrinking.”. In describing the moon as ice, it conveys a sense of impermanence. The apparent contradiction between seeing something as permanent as the moon and the impermanence associated with ice confuses Erika and makes her feel uncertain as she tries to 'peer into the void' and choose what path to take. When the sun comes out she fully anticipates the moon to go away and, while she expects the moon to come back again, there is part of her that is fearing of the idea that it may not. In the same way, Erika wants to rely on Kitaru to love and love her back but she remains fearful. In the crafting of this image of a moon, whose appearance from night to night can not be relied on, it illustrates the two parts of Erika that are in conflict with each other. The part that wants to continue to see Kitaru wants to stay and watch the moon every night and the part that wants to see what else the world has to offer feels that the moon may melt and never come back. The convergence of these two parts creates a paradox that leads Erika to not trust her instinct or her surroundings.

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