Woman Running in the Mountains

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Narrated from the third-person limited omniscient point of view, WOMAN RUNNING IN THE MOUNTAINS discloses the thoughts and feelings of the protagonist, Takiko Odaka. Although the narrative is dominated by her story, it also tells the story of her baby son, Akira, and that of her parents, especially that of her mother, whose early life was spent in the mountains west of Tokyo. There Takiko imagines that prior to her marriage her mother had run free and proud. Having married an inadequate man, as the narrative states, “Maybe her mother had settled for what she’d got, but Takiko didn’t want to give up. She couldn’t do it.” In fact, she rebels against such an acceptance of one’s fate. Always a dreamer, Takiko sometimes dreams that she is her unmarried young mother running “tough and free” in the mountains “without knowing emotion.”

Takiko experiences some strong emotions during the course of her evolution from childhood to womanhood: love of her freedom and independence as a woman; bitter anger at her drunken, sadistic father, who continually abuses her mentally and physically; indignant anger at her mother, who, ashamed of her unmarried pregnancy, advocates either abortion or adoption before she can accept Takiko’s decision to bear the child and rear it herself; giving in to sexual passion aroused by male friends for whom she feels no true love; and finally true love of a mother for her child and true love for her male coworker at the...

(The entire section is 434 words.)