The Little Green Monster by Haruki Murakami
In The Little Green Monster by Haruki Murakami we have the theme of loneliness, isolation, appearance, control and connection. Taken from his The Elephant Vanishes collection the story is narrated in the first person by an unnamed woman and from the beginning of the story the reader realizes that Murakami may be exploring the theme of loneliness. Through the setting we discover that the narrator is sitting alone in her house. She is looking out towards the oak tree, which is important. As Murakami may be using the oak tree to represent society and the narrator feeling somewhat distant from society. Though we do not know why the narrator may feel like this. She is obviously unhappy with the position she finds herself in. Identifying with the tree as being like an old friend. The tree is as old as the narrator and has been in her life since she was a little child. Yet there is still some type of longing within the narrator to connect with the tree (society).
This may be significant as the tree is something that is normalized for the narrator. She has personified the tree. Perhaps due to the loneliness or her desire to connect with somebody (or something). However it is noticeable that when the narrator gets the opportunity to connect with the little green monster. Rather than connecting with him. She kills him. Symbolically green is often used in literature to represent or highlight jealousy or envy. If anything the narrator may feel jealous that the little green monster, who she describes as ugly, is initially comfortable in his own skin. The fact that he has human eyes is also interesting as eyes are the windows to a person’s soul and the little green monster is not bad in any way. He is after all in love with the narrator. Who judges the little green monster by way of his appearance.
For someone who may be longing to make a connection with the world the narrator is stunting any development by judging the little green monster. The fact that the narrator exerts control over the little green monster, by way of her thoughts, is also important. As Murakami may be suggesting that people like to control other people. As soon as the narrator realizes she can control how the little green monster feels. She is no longer afraid of him. Rather she appears to enjoy the process of seeing the little green monster dying in front of her eyes. It is ironic that though the narrator wants to make a connection, she shuns the little green monster’s affections. It is not as though society is queuing up to engage with the narrator. In fact the opposite is occurring. With the narrator being isolated, just as her home is, from society and the larger world.
If anything the narrator’s narrow-mindedness when it comes to the little green monster not only suggests a rigidness within the narrator but also despite a desire to connect with others. Her inability to accept others for who or what they are. Which will only lead to the narrator’s continued feelings of loneliness and isolation. The narrator longs for connection but when she gets the opportunity to connect with the little green monster, who is harmless, she ends up killing him with her cutting comments. All based solely on the little green monster’s appearance. Which may be the point that Murakami is attempting to make. He may be suggesting that the individual and society judges others by their appearance. The little green monster was willing to fill the void in the narrator’s life. Yet she, through jealousy of his ability to be himself, killed him.