A Psychological Reading of Haruki Murakami’s After Dark: Presentation of the Individuation Process
This paper shows how the novel After Dark by Haruki Murakami employs strong symbols like music, night, light, cameras, and references to popular culture to express the identity and personality of the Japanese people as one, rather than that of an individual Japanese typical in most psychological readings. In particular, the aforementioned symbols were analyzed through the frame of Jungian psychological reading in an endeavor to uncover the author's intention, particularly that the novel itself is a reflection of the disparity and evolution of the common Japanese psyche. The main characters are analyzed through the four main concepts of Jungian psychology, namely the Persona, the Shadow, the Anima or Animus, and the Self. The archetypal images that Jung theorized classify the symbolisms used by humans are also drawn out from the main characters as a result of the analysis. Subsequently, a separate analysis is conducted on the main character, Mari Asai, and her sister, Eri Asai, putting a due focus on their interactions. From these, the "Self" of the characters is presented as, for Mari Asai, the product of her interactions, even as these interactions are a method of negotiation/modulation of her Shadow and Persona, and for Eri Asai, the meaning of her slumber, the interactions with the shadowy figure, and her eventual awakening in the end. Finally, the paper also analyzes the dominant themes utilized in the novel through the Jungian concept of "collective unconscious". Through the symbols and archetypes identified in the first and second layer of analysis, it shows that the encounters and events that happen in the novel are evocatively used to represent and, in some ways, violate the norms of symbolism, all of which have been done to portray the ongoing identity transaction.