Author (Your Name)

Laura E. Smith, Colby College

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. English Dept.


David B. Suchoff


In order to explicate Murakami's version of the official culture, I have analyzed the novel with the works of several different theorists. Primarily, I drew my own understanding of the official culture from Raymond Williams's examination of culture in Marxism and Literature. His terminology became helpful in writing about the operation of the System and the Town, though it did not define that operation precisely. Williams's work also introduced me to the theory behind the official culture's manipulation and exclusion of historical aspects in order to create their "official" version of history, from which the official culture draws its identity. For further analysis of the treatment of history, I turned to Friedrich Nietzsche's On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life. Though it examines the official culture's manipulation of history in a much more in-depth manner, it seems to have influenced Murakami's treatment of individual memories and cultural histories. For instance, the herd ofunicoms in the End of the World resembles Nietzsche's description of the ''unhistorical herd," or has the potential to resemble it. With these theories I was able to access the mechanisms of cultural control that Murakami depicts in the form of the System and the Town, and from there I was able to develop a model for how the narrator struggles to subvert that control. Both sides of that struggle are depicted and re-imagined many times throughout Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.


Haruki Murakami, Identity, Culture, Memory