Writing as self-therapy: Competing therapeutic paradigms in Murakami Haruki's Rat trilogy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Murakami Haruki's first three novels, commonly referred to as the Rat trilogy, deal with the growing pains of a young man suffering from personal and cultural loss. In the psychological journey of the narrator we see a number of elements that remind us of other authors: a response to loss reminiscent of Peter Homan's description of de-idealization; an attempt at growth and development reminiscent of both Carl Jung's writings on individuation and Joseph Campbell's description of the monomyth or hero's journey; and blocks and barriers reminiscent of Freud's writings on mourning and melancholia. Later, as this narrator is reunited with his alter ego Rat, he also experiences a radical abandonment of self that is reminiscent of Jacques Lacan's description of an act. This trilogy offers three competing models of what self-therapy might mean: the catharsis of self-expression, the promise of self-completion and the radical possibility of self-abandonment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-64
Number of pages22
JournalJapan Forum
Volume22
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

self-therapy
personality development
pain
paradigm
experience
Paradigm
Therapy
Therapeutics
Journey
Abandonment
Narrator
Trilogy
Rat
Alter-ego
Joseph Campbell
Individuation
Pain
Self-expression
Sigmund Freud
Psychological

Keywords

  • Murakami haruki
  • Rat trilogy
  • Therapeutic paradigms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • History

Cite this

Writing as self-therapy : Competing therapeutic paradigms in Murakami Haruki's Rat trilogy. / Dil, Jonathan.

In: Japan Forum, Vol. 22, No. 1-2, 03.2010, p. 43-64.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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