How Naoko suffers from psychosomatic trauma by fantasizing her childhood

Professor Richard Holton (University of Cambridge) believes psychosomatic illness involves the beliefs or the other attitudes that the patient possesses and those have influences on the way of that illness presents and so, the symptoms are partly or perhaps entirely constituted as a result of the beliefs or the other attitudes that the patient might possess.

A psychosomatic trauma emerges from or can be increased by emotional stress and becomes evident in the body as physical pain and other symptoms. In Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood, Naoko’s childhood experiences are occupied by her deceased boyfriend Kizuki’s presence and she suffers from psychosomatic disorder since she fantasizes about her childhood following the demise of her boyfriend.

An inseparable psychological and emotional connection exists between Naoko and Kizuki. Naoko’s existence becomes a mere living without Kizuki. This traumatic experience of losing her boyfriend impacts her so much that she develops a psychological condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

American Psychiatric Association explains PTSD as, “psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or  witnessed  a  traumatic  event  such  as  a  natural  disaster,  a  serious  accident,  a  terrorist  act, combat/ war, rape or other violent personal assault.” 

Naoko cannot get past the thought of her deceased boyfriend because much of her past memories were occupied by his presence.

Naoko says we were like kids who grew up naked on a desert island. If we got hungry, we’d just pick a banana; if we got lonely, we’d go to sleep in each other’s arms She also says as if we were physically joined somewhere

(Murakami 155)(Murakami 154).

The sudden demise of Kizuki ignites an intense psychological perplexity in both Naoko and Toru. But, it is Naoko who suffers the most as she and Kizuki were there together from their childhood and the emotional intensity can be assumed through her words.

Toru says regarding Naoko and Kizuki that as with most couples who have been together since childhood, there was a casual openness about the relationship between Naoko and Kizuki and little sense that they wanted to be alone together. They were always visiting each other’s homes and eating or playing mah-jong with each other’s families.

(Murakami 27)

So, Naoko is unable to accept that abrupt tragedy and she feels like fish out of water among the people around her and afterward suffers from schizophrenia, a psychosomatic disorder that leads her to commit suicide.

From childhood they were attached closely. Nobody was there to tell them whether the staffs they were engaged in are ok or not. So they engaged themselves in whatever they wanted and that is how gradually both of them fused into one. And when Kizuki dies, it seems like half part of a body is destroyed and the other half can never survive without the destroyed part. Even her twentieth birthday is so much painful for her as she does not want to exceed the teenage period within which her boyfriend died.

So, she is also suffering from Peter pan syndrome. It means each and everything that associates Kizuki is haunting her. She does not willing to get passed of those fantasies most importantly her childhood memories. She even splits the world into two and says to Toru that your and my world are not the same. 

So, basically Naoko does not want to accept the fact that Kizuki is no more and as a result, she through thoughts and words is living in her past memories which were mostly occupied by Kizuki’s presence. So, she in a sense is fantasizing her childhood and gradually she becomes a schizophrenic patient and in the end, commits suicide.

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