OUTLINE - By Rena (Leina) Sha Frog A Spiritual Journey...

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By Rena (Leina) Sha “Frog” – A Spiritual Journey Perhaps one of the most acclaimed volumes penned by Haruki Murakami, “After the Quake” is a collection of short stories that explore solitude and emptiness in the human psyche. In his short stories Murakami likes to use fantastical elements; elements that defy everyday life such as the supernatural and the magical. In “Super-Frog Saves Tokyo” these elements play a main role in developing the psyche of the protagonist Katagiri. Katagiri and Frog embark on a spiritual journey together, in which Frog resembles the cultured, powerful figure Katagiri aspires to be, while his alter ego Worm represents the stagnant cut off social outcast that Katagiri is. Just as Frog wishes to defeat Worm, Katagiri wishes to alter himself. However, Worm’s psyche is fused so completely with Frog’s that he fails to destroy Worm. This symbolizes Katagiri’s psychological process; although he undergoes a fierce battle to change himself, he chooses an escapist route in the end, remaining a static character. Frog, one of the main fantastical elements in the short story, embodies Katagiri’s hopes, dreams and wishes for the future. When Frog is first introduced his physical characteristics are contrasted to those of Katagiri’s. Frog is “powerfully built, standing over six foot tall…” while Katagiri is “A skinny little man no more than five-foot-three”. Katagiri immediately feels a certain awe towards Frog as Frog has all the physical capabilities that he lacks. This representation of Frog as Katagiri’s model develops further throughout the novel. When Frog tells Katagiri about Worm he accepts the fact that there is indeed a giant worm under the earth making earthquakes (quite a ridiculous notion in fact) without questioning Frog in the slightest.
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Frog’s swift and successful dealing with the attorney from the Big Bear Case further portrays him as Katagiri’s role model. In fact later in the story Katagiri is seen quoting Frog’s words, using them to reassure himself in times of need. Such as, when he is shot he says to himself, “… true terror is the kind that men feel towards their imagination.” (p106) and he says “What you see with your eyes is not necessarily real.” (p114) after he was nearly suffocated by worms. Katagiri even wants to buy Anna Karenina and White Nights, two books that Frog had quoted from. Katagiri is fairly uneducated; he hopes to become cultured like Frog. Katagiri also always calls Frog “Mr. Frog” to which Frog replies, “Call me ‘Frog’”. This does not only serve as comic relief as Murakami points out the slight absurdity of the situation, it also denotes Katagiri’s
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OUTLINE - By Rena (Leina) Sha Frog A Spiritual Journey...

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