What Is Ambiguous Language

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One of the most ambiguous words in the English language is the word ‘thing’ simply because it can refer to anything at all. There is nothing ‘thing’ cannot refer to, not even nothingness itself. Whilst it is traditionally associated with objects, its definition extends far beyond that. If we are to define a ‘thing’ as being the equivalent of a “noun” – that is a ‘person, place, abstract concept’ et cetera – then of course there are a multitude of ‘things’ in Murakami’s work. As a result it may be easier to break the notion of ‘thing’ down into categories: physical objects (both living and non-living), supernatural elements, textual objects (that is, techniques) and of course metaphysical concepts or greater readings of the text as a whole. …show more content…

Murakami uses language to make them feel human and yet decisively not-human as in the story ‘UFO in Kushiro’ where for the most part the language lacks any real emotion in relation to any character, particularly the main character Komura who is described as being “like a chunk of air” (4) as well as his wife who withdraws into herself so deeply she is only barely existing. There is a distinct lack of connection to the characters – we never even learn the name of, let alone actually hear from, Komura’s wife – which in turn creates this illusion of incompleteness on their part. Such incompleteness is also exacerbated by the epigraph from Pierrot Le Fou which refers to the deaths of 115 men as being “anonymous” because “we don’t know anything about these men, who they are, whether they love a woman, or have children, if they prefer cinema to theatre.” By knowing “nothing” of actual importance about the characters – at least not in the sense that would allow a genuine feeling of empathy – Murakami objectifies them as nothing but …show more content…

This concept appears particularly in the form of Frog who is “a product neither of metaphor nor allusion nor deconstruction nor sampling nor any other such complex process” (85) yet decisively “a thing that stands for a world of un-Frog” (99). In this sense, the audience – much like Katagari – are left unsure of what is real, what is literary, and what is simply within the area of imagination, creating “a space within which the reader is unable to explain what is narrated but can only experience it”(Walker 512). This confusion of boundaries tests our perceptions of solid and tangible as opposed to conceptual which aligns with Hemminger’s (2001) notion that “magical realists defy monolithic language structures in their efforts to more accurately describe human experience”

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