Accepting Fate and Inevitable Death in Banana Yoshimoto’s Kitchen and “Moonlight Shadow

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It is inevitable that death is all around us. By understanding this, one has the ultimate choice to continue on with their lives or remain in a state of bereavement. An inability to escape this grieving state inhibits one to move on and consequently these feelings dictate and govern our whole lives. This philosophy, existentialism, advocates that as humans we have the power to direct our own lives and pave our own paths. Author Banana Yoshimoto recognizes this ideal and illustrates the journey of how several young adults finally realize their place and meaning in the world despite their struggles. They all face a similar tragedy where their loved ones perished from their lives, and are ultimately challenged to overcome their …show more content…

Soon, Mikage meets Yuichi Tanabe, a boy who used to know her grandmother fairly well prior to her death. Now that Mikage was living alone in her apartment, Yuichi suggests that she moves in with his mother Eriko and him. Although Yuichi and Mikage do not know each other personally, they shared a similar love for her grandmother that ultimately brought them together, as Yuichi admits, “‘You seem to think that I live on impulse, like Eriko, but inviting you was something I thought over very carefully. Your grandmother was always so concerned about you, and probably the person who can best understand how you feel in this world is me. I know that once you’re well again, really okay again, you’ll do what you want” (37). As the three get along very well, Mikage finds herself comfortable in the Tanabe household. Having Yuichi and Eriko as a support system helps Mikage overcome and recover from the multiple losses in her young life. Soon, she discovers that her love for cooking and food goes beyond a simple hobby, and uses it to establish a career and lifestyle. Her acceptance about her unavoidable fate drives her out of a state of grief and brings Mikage freedom from her state of misery. On the other hand, losing the death of your first love is undeniably difficult. In “Moonlight Shadow”, Satsuki loses her first love Hitoshi unexpectedly in a car accident, and

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