A Wild Sheep Chase

by Haruki Murakami

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There are no names used in the entire novel. Why do you think the author chose not to include these names? Do you believe this style helped or harmed the story?

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Haruki Murakami chose not to include character names in A Sheep's Chase likely because he wanted to drive home how devoid of emotional connection each character is. The main character isn't really able to connect with others; in the beginning, even his own marriage is falling apart. When people are unnamed, it's more difficult to understand them. The brunette man with the umbrella could be one of many people; someone is more likely to recognize someone with a name. It's another way of keeping people separate and showing how disconnected everyone is. It makes the setting feel emotionless and detached in many ways.

In some ways, the lack of names hampered the story because it also makes it more difficult for readers to get attached to the characters. Ultimately, though, the stylistic choice drives home the point of how disconnected everyone is from each other. The protagonist might want to find some kind of human connection or understanding but there is a perceptible barrier keeping him from doing so. The lack of names means that each person is only described by their function to others; one person is a driver and another is a garbageman or a waiter or a study group companion. People don't take on their own agency and everyone remains unknown and alone.

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