Monday, October 10, 2011
Richard Ponders Real World's Parent/Child Relationships
[Spoiler alert: this focuses on the Worm 2 and Terauchi sections]
So our astute writers have been doing sharp work parsing individual passages and meta moments, but I want to look at the bigger picture. Since this is, after all, a book with a matricide at the center of it, what point is Kirino making about parent/child bonds (or lack thereof)? And why DOES Worm kill his mother anyway?
In the second Worm section, he attempts to explain his actions: "She was guilty of creating a history between us, a past that justified me putting her in her place...I was a colony and she was the occupying force...A colony where everything was plundered. I don't know what exactly was stolen from me. But most definitely the old lady continued to steal something."
Worm's military language (occupation) is obviously significant here, as he uses it throughout this section, believing himself to be "transforming" into some sort of Japanese soldier. And there's definitely an us-against-them mentality in regards to parents and children that extends to the novel's female voices as well. Is there a single well-developed adult figure in this book? (or are they similar to the nonsensical "wawawa" voices of authority figures in Peanuts cartoons?). Fathers tend to be absent figures who work late then go out drinking. Mothers, if living, are smothering figures, ostensibly looking out for the girls' best interests but also stifling their individuality. The Terauchi section drifts into a lengthy flashback regarding her childhood and how her parents forced her into solo train rides at a young age, left alone to fend off the perverts on her way to school. "This was my reailty," she says, accepting her fate, but Worm's drastic action seems a rejection of such a fate. He's hellbent on forging his own "reality," though Terauchi, interestingly, is the only girl so far who's overly critical of what he's done. In fact, she sees her own loss of faith in her parents as a tragedy far greater, more "irreparable" (her favorite term) than Worm's matricide: "Kids lose their trust in the parents they love, but still accept them, so they end up not trusting themselves anymore."
This is a dark fucking book.