Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Banana Yoshimoto begins and ends her story with an elaborate reference to the sky. The expansive blue sky outside the young man’s bedroom window reminds him of his girlfriend’s eyes, which look like half moons fringed by dark circles. In the final moments of the story, her eyes represent the universe that engulfs every part of him. If she did not love him or if she cleared her mind of memories of him, he thinks that he would cease to exist in some way, and the helix of their entwined souls would disappear. The young woman’s discussion of memory suggests that time is also a helix that entwines experience and spirit: The young woman’s spiritual world is woven in time from experience, and she intuitively realizes that beauty, freedom, and selfhood are entwined. The explosion outside the café marks a turning point in the story, concluding it and bringing focus on people’s ability to discover beauty in the world, even when destructive forces are encountered. The young woman’s thoughts on the seminar highlight her belief that people can choose their own thoughts; the explosion demonstrates her ability to see in the flash a beautiful display of light and color. Her response to the explosion makes the young man finally see the significance of their togetherness, which is both a beginning and a continuation.

Like Adam and Eve, the young man and his girlfriend stand at the head of generations, and their entwined souls form a helix that symbolizes the...

(The entire section is 588 words.)