Raise your hand if you think you were a little too hard on Naoko.
When she was explaining the codependent nature of her relationship with Kizuki, I started to see how his suicide could take a wrecking ball to her life. They had been inseparable since the age of 3, they had their first (and only) sexual experiences together, and their individual egos melted together to make one. But she thinks they somehow cheated the system, and that Kizuki killing himself and her mental breakdown were just the other shoe dropping.
"We didn't pay when we should have, so now the bills are due." (p. 128)That is NOT a healthy way to look at the situation, as screwed up as it is. But that's not even all! Naoko's older sister killed herself at 17, too. And Naoko, in the sixth grade at the time, was the one who found her dead. From where I'm standing, Naoko has had more than her fair share of tragedy in her 20 years of life. I don't blame her for wanting to sneak quietly away from the world.
And that's exactly what the sanatorium is: AWAY from the world. It's practically a cult, and it doesn't seem designed to prepare patients for reentry to the outside world. Once there, I think it would be hard to ever leave. That's why Reiko has been there for 7 years (P.S. HOW MUCH DO WE LOVE REIKO?). As good as the place has been for Naoko's mental and physical health, I don't have high hopes for her recovering enough to leave. She's like a bird with a broken wing, maybe TWO broken wings.
Let's talk about Reiko. Does she remind anyone else of Midori? Her candid way of talking. The way Toru is instantly drawn to her. Her guitar playing (although Reiko's actually good at it. Poor Midori). She even calls Toru out on his strange way of talking. While Midori compared him to Humphrey Bogart, Reiko (in her infinite wisdom) sees him playing the part of Holden Caulfield. And the story she tells Toru! Lies, seduction, betrayal, a 13-year-old life-ruining lesbian. Someone give that woman a cookie and a hug.
But the way the three of them interact is eerily similar to the threesome that used to be Naoko, Kizuki, and Toru. It's almost as though Reiko has taken Toru's place in the group, Toru has taken Naoko's, and Naoko has taken Kizuki's.
"'When it's raining like this,' said Naoko, 'it feels as if we're the only ones in the world. I wish it would just keep raining so the three of us could stay together.'" (p. 161)
This doesn't bode well. In fact, it suggests that Naoko will not only NOT recover but will follow her sister and Kizuki out of the world in an equally tragic manner.
Continuing Murakami's use of light to make some sort of point, Chapter 6 seems dominated by moonlight and candlelight. This contributes to the dreamlike quality of the days Toru spends at the sanatorium. I think that may also be the reason Chapter 6 was SO VERY VERY long. By the time I got to the end of that chapter, I felt the jarring contrast Toru felt between the peaceful sanatorium and the "normal" world.
"I felt almost as if I had come to a planet where the gravity was a little different. Yes, of course, I told myself, feeling sad: I was in the outside world now." (p. 164)At one point, Toru compares himself to Jay Gatsby and Naoko to Daisy.
"It was easy to tell which room was hers. All I had to do was find the one window toward the back where a faint light trembled. I focused on that point of light for a long, long time. It made me think of something like the final throb of a soul's dying embers. I wanted to cup my hands over what was left and keep it alive. I went on watching it the way Jay Gatsby watched that tiny light on the opposite shore night after night." (p. 113)I definitely see Naoko's similarities to Daisy, but I was seeing Toru as more of a Nick Carraway. Maybe he was a Nick when he was with Naoko and Kizuki, but now he is changing to a Gatsby? Anyone have some insight on this?
Either way, I see more sad times ahead. We could start betting on who will kick the bucket next.