Significant detail - Essay Example

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One of the most significant scenes in The Naked Eye by Yoko Tawada comes early on, when the narrator of the book has been abducted and taken to West Germany by a man named Jorg. In particular, there is a very vivid scene after she has begun living in his apartment where she…
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One of the most significant scenes in The Naked Eye by Yoko Tawada comes early on, when the narrator of the book has been abducted and taken to West Germany by a man named Jorg. In particular, there is a very vivid scene after she has begun living in his apartment where she stabs him to death with scissors. This scene is so important to the novel because it is perhaps the first place in the story where what the narrator describes is clearly impossible, and ends up to not have happened.
The scene starts out fairly normally, and it is set up as a kind of montage. The narrator describes her routine with Jorg, how he would order them food and watch television with her, and then “leave the house again,” and how she would be in bed by the time he gets back (page 22). From this we get the sense that the narrator has fallen into her familiar pattern of pretending nothing that happens is actually happening to her. She describes her life from a distance, as if she is a character in a movie.
However, one day while doing this she sees some scissors on a desk and decides to act. The scissors are described in great detail, and in a very strange manner as well. Not only are they “long” and “narrow”, but there are “two angular little men” standing atop the blades (page 22). The narrator then becomes suddenly unsure of who she is sleeping with, describing him not as Jorg but as “a man whose name was probably Jorg” (page 22). She is starting to lose track of reality, and cannot be certain of anything any more.
But this scene gets even stranger, as the narrator decides to kill Jorg. She holds the scissors on top of her “in the dark” so he cant see them, and he “flung himself on top of me and the scissors pierced his flesh” (page 23). The matter of fact way the mans death is described is very disturbing. And the details are quite graphic, as she describes feeling the scissors pop through his spine and out of the flesh on his back, and how “his eyes swelled and popped” (page 23).
But probably the strongest part of this episode, and the thing which makes it so important in understanding the narrator and how she relates to the world around her, is how she describes her feelings after what is essentially a murder, even if it is an understandable murder because of how Jorg kidnapped her. As the mans corpse falls next to her in the bed, she felt “as if there might be peace in the room for a while” (page 23). While peace is a good thing, the narrator feels like the only way she can get peace is to murder someone. This is obviously a huge contradiction, and gives a lot of insight into the way her mind works. She is so distraught over her separation from her family and everything she knew, that the only way out for her would be to kill someone. This is how powerless she feels.
Of course, it turns out that this is just a fantasy. A few pages later, she and Jorg go out to dinner with his friends, and it is as if nothing has happened. She even describes going on “a date” with a couple of these friends and Jorg, so it is clear that her fantasy life is not reality (page 25). The problem here, though, is that it then becomes hard to see what is reality and what is dream. Although we might suspect that the lack of little angular men at the date make it real, it is ultimately impossible to say. This sort of strangeness really has a powerful impact on the alienation the narrator feels, and makes the novel very compelling to read. Read More
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