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Functions of Music in Murakami Haruki's Novel

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2015, 44(), pp.215-249
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Published : June 30, 2015

Sa-Bin Shin 1

1경희대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Murakami Haruki's novels consist of a story and music. It is hard to fully understand his intent to make music appear in his novels, but considering the functions of music in his novels, you can realize that inter-mediality between story and music contributes to the creation of bond of sympathy between Haruki and readers. Such tendency becomes more and more complicated as a story becomes longer (in comparison with his earlier short and light novels). A lot of music connects stories in layers with each other and in such densely organized stories, many human relations (i.e. relations among characters) are built. This was a huge change in his literary style in which focus has shifted from “detachment(apathy or indifference)” to “commitment(devotion or involvement).” Of course, there was a transitional period of “keeping a distance” when Haruki experienced extreme “detachment” from a “departure from his hometown(during three years of life in Europe and four and a half years of life in the U.S.).” In the meantime, there happened incidents, including earthquake in his hometown Kobe and Tokyo subway sarin attack by the Aum Shinrikyo cult, which led to a shift from “detachment” to “commitment”. Thereafter, he returned to his country and his stories became more intense and denser. Haruki tends to accept music from the perspective of appreciation as well as meaning. He emphasizes communication through music. He makes readers experience such communication by involving music in his literary world. Haruki does not want music in his novel to be the subject of understanding. In Haruki's novels, music, as the motive, subject, symbol and repetition of a story, serves the following functions: (i) source of inspiration, (ii) effect as background music, (iii) means of overcoming limitations of prose, (iv) expression of the inner world, (v) tools for sympathy, (vi) link of theme, etc. If you read his novels considering these functions of music, you would be able to get close to and fully and deeply sympathize with Haruki's literary world.

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