Ajjana Thairungroj. An Exploration of Metaphysical Loneliness and Relationships in Sputnik Sweetheart and Kitchen. Honors Thesis, University of Washington. 2012.
This paper explores the notion of existential alienation and metaphysical isolation of the individual, a core sentiment in Japanese post-modern literature, and how it operates in Haruki Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart and Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen. I propose to argue that, though the sentiments of loneliness and alienation permeate the novels, the individual can still seek conciliation and ease the burden of existence through 1) achieving Moustakas' concept of authentic communication and establishing connections with others, and 2) taking pleasure in small, seemingly insignificant matters in life, rather than attempting to futilely seek for a deeper essence in existence itself, an idea derived from a close reading of Camus' "The Myth of Sisyphus." This paper also addresses the paradox that, though forming relationships with others can ease metaphysical isolation, a large portion of the primary text's sense of loneliness itself derives from the character's realization that they cannot completely rely solely on those bonds as solutions to an existence without alienation.