Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood Imagery

The empty meadow

The image of the windblown meadow in which he walked with Naoko the second day of his first visit to Ami Hostel is what springs up in Toru's mind 18 years later when he hears "Norwegian Wood" played over airplane loudspeakers. The strange thing about this memory is that he sees everything in pristine detail with the exception of himself and Naoko. Though Naoko was the focus of his experience, is now gone. In this way, the novel begins with loss.

The dark forest where Naoko commits suicide

Although there are only a few occasions when Toru and Naoko walk into a forest, the image of a dark forest of death is one that plagues and tempts Naoko. From the shadows of the forest come the voices of the dead, Kizuki and Naoko's sister, which call for her to join them. In the end, Naoko does hang herself in such a forest at night, having given in to these voices.

Toru and Midori on the balcony

When Toru first comes over to Midori's house, they hear the alarm of a fire outside and end up sitting on the balcony watching the smoke and fire engines. As Midori mentions later on, it was as though the smoke made the scene more real, the sense of strangeness and disaster combining with their drinking, guitar-playing, and singing to create the first moment of intimacy between Toru and Midori—a moment in which the two kiss very naturally.

The place that is no place

The final scene of the novel comes closest to being supernatural: Toru, presumably in a telephone booth, looks around him in order to answer Midori's question of where he is, and finds himself in disorientation even more severe that what he felt when he first came back to the city from Ami Hostel. In contrast to the night cityscape that he sees from the rooftop of his dorm while releasing the butterfly, in this scene Toru has been completely and painfully caught up in the rush and bustle of the city.