Boku, 30 old ages old, is in many respects an mean middle-class citizen who, free from inordinate fiscal concerns, enjoys the sort of independency his position bestows. A merchandise of 1960? s, he takes eternal pleasance in smoke, imbibing, and eating in bars, coffeehouse, and eating houses. He dresses with insouciant modishness and frequents the films on a regular basis. His gustatory sensations in music and reading stuffs, though preponderantly popular, are disarmingly eclectic from the Beatles to Mozart, from Sherlock Holmes to Nietzsche in the postmodern manner of leveling elite/popular boundaries. Boku is far from gregarious, yet by no means a true lone wolf ; he is by all counts a sympathetic, easygoing chap, devoid of maliciousness and an authoritarian aggressiveness. Indeed, endowed with a sense of wit and self-irony, he is prosecuting in his shows of sensitiveness and tenderness, possesses a wry and ready humor, and evinces a deep in thought air.
Significantly, nevertheless, Boku is a member of the advertisement universe, that symbol of media-dominated and consumer-orientated modern-day Nipponese civilization, which is revealed to be under the pollex of the rightist leader by virtuousness of his fiscal retentions ; it is this adult male who indirectly draws Boku into the whirlpool of the sheep pursuit and robs him of his independency. No admiration, so, that there is no nucleus, merely vacuum, to Boku being. He is literally without a past ( or a hereafter, for that affair ) . Victims of erasure, neither his household nor his divorced married woman, for case, impinge much on his consciousness. Paradoxically, he is frequently filled with a sense of loss, though the content of that loss is non clearly spelled out. There are, at most, mentions to the manner and clime of the sixtiess, a past that Boku tends to estheticize into an indulgent, pensive nostalgia.
The tenuity of Boku individuality is exposed by the absence of introspection and in his dealingss with other people. If, as Jean-Paul Sartre claims, true individuality is forged in the melting pot of the dialectic between ego and other, Boku fails the trial. The other is a debatable force for the subjective I or self, because it excessively, unlike inanimate objects, is endowed with a consciousness and subjectiveness that frequently clash with those of the ego. Consciously or unconsciously, Boku tries to get away the self-other confrontation by sing others as objects, no uncertainty because his ain subjective ego is desiring in deepness.
A instance in point is his relationship with his former married woman. The divorce efficaciously takes topographic point early on in the novel, in chapter two, when Boku returns to their flat after go toing his old girlfriend funeral to happen his married woman ready to travel out for the concluding clip. The conversation between the two skirts everything that might be thought of as indispensable for an apprehension of their state of affairs. At one point Boku comments, I m non explicating. I m merely doing conversation summing up the tenor of their relationship. Boku is dejected over and saddened by the failed matrimony ; but there is no contemplation whatsoever on what might hold gone incorrect, and the affair is shortly erased from his consciousness.
The relationship with his new girlfriend is carried out on no firmer land than that with his former married woman. First attracted to her by her beautiful ears glimpsed in a exposure, Boku regards her, possibly unwittingly, as an object ( her ears ) , therefore striping her of subjectiveness. It is non that Boku is deliberately average and insensitive, merely that he is basically more comfy with outsides and averse to the deep investigation. Indeed, he is to the full expert at exposing fondness of the surface assortment a candle flame dinner in the romantic scene of a classy Gallic eating house, for case. The chit-chat they engage in, frequently surrounding on the pathetic, produces a delicious wit ; but in the terminal it signifies nil more than the postmodernist noisy silence. Most relation is his reaction to her sudden disappearing toward the terminal of the novel. They have eventually reached the site in the mountains of Hokkaido where the image of the graze sheep had been taken. As Boku sleeps in the Villa, once the belongings of the Sheep Professor and now owned by Rat household, she cryptically vanishes. ( The reader is informed shortly thenceforth that the Sheep Man, who turns out to be the shade of the now-dead Rat, had urged her to go forth. )
“ I could non accept the fact of her disappearing. I was hardly awake, but even if I were wholly limpid, this and everything that was go oning to me was far beyond my kingdom of comprehension. There was about nil 1 could make except allow things take their class ” .
Far from trailing after her, Boku proceeds to fix his dinner fret, staff of life, an apple, and vino which he consumes while listening to a record of the Percy Faith Orchestra playing Perfidia. The extent of his contemplation runs as follows, puting bare his preference for estheticizing and romanticising even the really recent yesteryear: I was experiencing lonely without her, but the fact that I could experience lonely at all was solace. Loneliness wasn Ts such a bad feeling. It was like the hush of the pin oak after the small bird had flown off .
Boku attitude toward others is possibly most fundamentally reflected in his antipathy to mentioning to them by their proper names ( which are ne’er revealed ) , as denying them their independent, subjective individualities. ( Since Boku [ “ I ” ] himself is non assigned a name, the propensity in bend mirrors that of the writer, who in fact has littered his work with unidentified characters. ) Therefore, Boku married woman is simply the married woman, his girlfriend the girlfriend with the beautiful ears. And, like the secretary, the concern spouse, and the hotel clerk, who besides inhabit the novel universe, they are reduced to their functional classs. Whatever names do look are nicknames, such as Rat and Sheep Professor, possibly proposing these characters less-than-human capacities.
The antipathy toward calling is no accident. The subject is taken up within the fresh itself and given a amusing bend. When Boku is forced to go forth Tokyo in hunt of the particular sheep, in a amusing scene of contrary intimidation, he insists that the rightist leader secretary attention for his elderly cat. Sent to pick up the felid, the secretary chauffeur asks its name.
Nice kitty-kitty, said the chauffeur, manus non outstretched. What his name?
He doesn Ts have a name.
So what do you name the chap?
I don t name it, I said. It merely there.
But he non a ball merely sitting at that place. He moves approximately by his ain will, no? Seems mighty strange that something that moves by its ain will doesn Ts have a name.
The conversation continues with an diverting discussion on why some things ( like ships ) are accorded names whereas others are non ( like aeroplanes ) . The job goes unsolved, even as the conversants consider the act of witting designation with life things and non-interchangeability: as possible bases for naming.
A symptom of Boku disjunction with his kernel, or ego, is his about fetishistic attending to trivia, to things. It is as if a careful trailing of things furnishes him with a grip and a clasp on a fractious world. He notes the exact figure of stairss from the lift to the door of his flat, the sum of java and cigarettes he consumes, or the clip that a peculiar vocal was in trend ; he becomes compulsively funny about a giant penis on show at an fish tank he visits. Even something so intimate as sex turns into a thing. Refering his ain sexual personal businesss, approximately which he is surprisingly untalkative, at one point he records as a formality, We returned to the hotel and had intercourse. I like that word, intercourse. It poses merely a limited scope of possibilities . Sexual activity, it would look, offers him non much more than the animal satisfaction he derives from the ingestion of things, like epicure nutrients.
Boku perceptual experience of and response to people and things leans to a great extent on the side of the immediate, the physical, the animal, assorted with non a small mannerism. Riding in the limousine driven by the chauffeur, he remarks, Compared to my fifteen-year-old Volkswagen Beetle I d bought off a friend, [ it ] was every bit quiet as sitting at the underside of a lake have oning earplugs . He reacts to his miss friend ears in the undermentioned manner:
“ She d demo me her ears on juncture ; largely on sexual occasions. Sexual activity with her ears exposed was an experience I d ne’er known.
When it was raining, the odor of the rain came through crystal clear. When birds were singing, their vocal was a thing of sheer lucidity. I m at a loss for words, but that what it was similar. ”
Anything necessitating sustained idea, religious input, or a committed stance bores him, possibly even frightens him. What he finds difficult to manage or bothersome, he dismisses with slipperiness, light-minded apothegms, something he comments Russians are prey to: Russians have a manner with apothegms. They likely spend all winter believing them up . Here he remarks on sex:
“ To kip with a adult female: it can look of the extreme importance in your head, or so once more it can look like nil much at all.
Which merely goes to state that at that place sex as therapy ( self-therapy, that is ) and there sex as interest. ”
“ There sex for self-improvement start to complete and there sex for killing clip straight through ; sex that is curative at first merely to stop up as thing-better-to-do, and frailty versa. Our human sex life how shall I set it? ? differs basically from the sex life of the giant. ”
Boku is by no means a ugly adult male, out to commit immorality. Neither is he in cold blood apathetic toward those around him his former married woman, his girlfriend, or J the saloon proprietor. He seems truly fond of his friend Rat in peculiar, transporting out with good cheer and funny favours the latter petitions. In fact, Rat appears in many ways to be the alter self-importance of Boku himself Rat letters to Boku have the same idiosyncrasy and tone as Boku address. Ultimately, nevertheless, Boku avoids battle and committedness, those qualities Sartre deemed to essential in human dealingss. Short in attending span, he is constitutionally incapable of giving to the full of himself to anything. All is surface.