Utopian End at the Sanatorium: Memory, Trauma and Suicide of Naoko in Haruki Murakami‟s Norwegian Wood
‘Memory is a funny thing’. The idea of memory, trauma and suicide is being portrayed as an incorrigible essence in the portrayal of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood (2000). Individualistic values nonconforming to societal values, weak social restrains, the desire for meaning of life which is attainable only by social attachment, the dichotomy between nonconforming values and unconscious wish for sympathy lead an individual to depression and melancholy as well as schizophrenic conditions which are the reinforces for committing suicide. Kizuki’s abrupt decision of committing suicide and Naoko’s childhood romantic memories and fallacies are intermingled for developing psychologicaldystopia in the mind which ultimately leads her towards committing suicide at the Sanatorium. The current paper analyzes Norwegian Wood (2000) from the perspectives of different literary and psychological theoriesespeciallyFreudian psychoanalysis to measure the impacts of death and formations of trauma on the psyche of the lead character of the novel who is none but Naoko. It divulges how Toru Watanabe, the narrator gets recovered from his trauma through a purgatory solitary journey while Naoko, the main female character develops Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), after going through the situation like CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) and terminates her utopian world. The study also scrutinizes how ‘memory’ functions in the cognitive system of the human brain and gives a study of how and what affects the brain to develop trauma. In doing so, it draws references to contemporary Japan and literary pieces from different corners of the universe.
Keywords - Memory, Trauma, PTSD, CTE, Suicide, Depression.