A Wild Sheep Chase


Boku, thirty years old, is in many respects an average middle-class citizen who, free from excessive financial worries, enjoys the kind of independence his status bestows. A product of 1960s, he takes endless pleasure in smoking, drinking, and eating in bars, cafes, and restaurants. He dresses with casual chic and frequents the movies regularly. His tastes in music and reading materials, though predominantly popular, are disarmingly eclectic - from the Beatles to Mozart, from Sherlock Holmes to Nietzsche - in the postmodern way of leveling elite/popular boundaries. Boku is far from gregarious, yet by no means a true loner; he is by all counts a likable, easygoing fellow, devoid of malice ...

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into the maelstrom of the sheep chase and robs him of his independence. No wonder, then, that there is no core, only vacuity, to Boku's being. He is literally without a past (or a future, for that matter). Victims of erasure, neither his family nor his divorced wife, for instance, impinge much on his consciousness. Paradoxically, he is often filled with a sense of loss, though the content of that loss is not clearly spelled out. There are, at most, references to the style and climate of the 1960s, a past that Boku tends to estheticize into an indulgent, wistful nostalgia.
The thinness of Boku's identity is exposed by the absence of self-examination and in his relations with other people. If, as Jean-Paul Sartre claims, true identity is forged in the crucible of the dialectic between self and other, Boku fails the test. The "other" is a problematic force for the subjective "I" or self, because it too, unlike inanimate objects, is endowed with a consciousness and subjectivity that ...

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with exteriors and averse to the deep probe. Indeed, he is fully adept at displaying affection of the surface variety - a candlelight dinner in the romantic setting of a posh French restaurant, for instance. The chitchat they engage in, often bordering on the ridiculous, produces a delightful humor; but in the end it signifies nothing more than the postmodernist "noisy silence." Most telling is his reaction to her sudden disappearance toward the end of the novel. They have finally reached the site in the mountains of Hokkaido where the picture of the grazing sheep had been taken. As Boku naps in the villa, formerly the property of the Sheep Professor and now owned by Rat's family, she ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 2/14/2004 05:17:44 PM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1735
Pages: 7

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