殺人出産 🤰🔪 Book Club ・ Week 7

殺人出産 ・ Week 7

Week 7 5 June 2021
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End loc (Kindle) 838
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Vocabulary

Please read the guidelines on the first page before adding any words.

Discussion questions

  1. What sentence/passage gave you the most difficulty? Feel free to request some help, or if you figured it out on your own break it down for the rest of us!
  2. What was your favorite new vocab word from this week’s reading?
  3. Was there any passage that you found particularly intriguing? Did it resonate with you (either positively or negatively)? Was it surprising? Offer any insight or new perspective? Was it just beautifully written?
1 Like
About the hospital scene

Am I the only one who thinks Sakiko comes across as a bit paternalistic? Something about the way she talks to the older sister rubs me the wrong way. She only just met her and immediately gets all high-handed about how she is a victim and she is there to help. I think she is on the right side of history, but would it kill her to be a bit more tactful?

So I thought this exchange was pretty funny:

「このことは他言しません。どうか、率直なお気持ちをお聞かせください」

姉はダリアの花を見つめながら言った。

「そうですね……。私は、この世界が『正しい世界』になってくれて本当に良かった、と思っています」

「…………」

And might this be the moment where the older sister made up her mind who she is going to kill? :open_mouth:

「でも大丈夫よ。きっとあなたも、このしい世界われて、そのしみから解放されるがくるわ。きっとね」

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Hospital Scene

I definitely agree, if her goal was to change anyone’s mind, her tone isn’t helping at all.

Ooh, interesting thought!

One part that stuck with me about the hospital scene was this one:

すごい... 環ちゃんの身体って、本当に不思議... 命を産むために生まれてきたみたい

and Misaki’s amazement at being able to become an 産み人 herself. There’s a really interesting difference between how feminists fought for women to have other roles in society than giving birth and taking care of children, and the setting of the story where natural birth has become so rare that being able to give birth is somehow awe-inspiring to a little girl, to the point where she wants to effectively become a birth-giving machine.

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I really like the writing style. Though because the only other novel I’ve read from a different author was Kikis, I’m not sure if it’s really the writing style or if it just seems like it because I’m not fluently understanding it, but to me it seems quite factual, dry, mundane (? not in a negative way. I’m not sure how to word it well)… there’s some dialog, then a short description of a scene to set the mood. Not a lot of fancy stuff, you know? Definitely vastly different to Kikis, imo. Does this make any sense?

Anyways, I’m super enjoying the story. The ant scene was great.


Hospital response

Yah to this point I’m not even sure what she imagined her to be. She seemed to have idealized her a lot. Ikuko even said that it’s not a good idea to visit her. Though I can’t really remember the conversation Sakiko had with Ikuko and what her reasons were exactly.

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One of the reasons I love her writing so much :heart: I’m not good with fancy stuff.
One other word I commonly see associated with Murata’s style is “deadpan”.

And yep, I don’t think it’s the matter of fluency. Btw, I once saw a complain about a translation being too dry and I was “but that’s how it is in the original :sweat:

Re: Hospital response

I guess she was expecting “yes I wanted out for such a long time thank you my savior take me out of here” or something :roll_eyes:

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I’m glad I got the right impression then. I’m definitely loving it too! :relaxed:

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Hospital Scene

I took this as a straight-up threat! On the tail-end of their less-than-friendly exchange this line is downright ominous.

This whole story 育子 has been very passive, and this scene was the closest we really got to her outwardly expressing her position. She seems almost fatalistic though.

On Murata’s style:

I love it. It’s so unique that it can be so dry and also so captivating. I can enjoy more flowery language like in Kiki as well, but in terms of keeping me engaged and getting to the point Murata is the best. The afterword in コンビニ人間 talks about how Murata uses sensory details to make her scenes rich and lifelike despite the sparse prose. The ant scene and the purple flowers were some great examples of this.

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Done this week! Not too much to add that hasn’t already been said. Though I will say that the dialogue section with the sister was a relief comprehension-wise: I felt myself able to fly through a lot of it, which was nice (I mean… relative to my usual speed, ha).

Spoiler-land

Oh god, yes. Definitely had that vibe. I mean… I still think this world is really messed up, but then in the end, the sister is applying some form of agency on her life. People are making the best out bad situations and sometimes people make less-than-great choices for good reasons.

One thing that I felt was interesting was how foreign the whole idea of pregnancy was for Miseki. Does that mean that all pregnant woman tend to be sequestered from society in this way? It harkens back the era of women going into confinement once pregnant. Though I imagine they do that to monitor health, perhaps it is also to isolate the woman from larger society. It creates some sort of sense of mysticism if you can’t actually see what a pregnant woman is looks like and they are less likely to be reached by certain radical society members cough who want to change their mind.

働き蟻の寿命って2年くらいだそうですよ。でもこの子たら、私たち小さいころから、変わらずずっといますよ。知らないうちに、命がは入れ替わってるだけで、ずっと存在している

Want to double check my comprehension for the passage above. Here is my breakdown.

働き蟻の寿命って2年くらいだそうですよ = They say that the lifespan of a worker ant is about 2 years
でもこの子たら = But this little guys (I think 子 refers to the ant, but not sure what たら adds?)
私たち小さいころから = Since we were small
変わらずずっといますよ。= Has existed continually without change.
知らないうちに = While we didn’t notice
命がは入れ替わってるだけで、= Life has replaced itself
ずっと存在している。to continually exist

Roughly:

They say that the lifespan of a worker ant is about two years. But this little guy, since we’ve been small, has continued to exist without change. We might not know it, but life continues to replace itself and to perpetually exist.

Feedback welcome!

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I was also wondering about that. If somebody feels fine (especially during the earlier pregnancies), can they live on their own, or is it completely prohibited?
As far as I remember, it isn’t mentioned anywhere. :thinking:

Guess who’s all caught up?! :grin: I technically finished reading this week’s section on Sunday, but I wasn’t sure what to contribute to the discussion. I, too, feel like we were given a not-so-subtle hint at who the sister will end up choosing.

Thoughts

I think the part where Tamaki mentions that this world is better because it suits her is interesting. In コンビニ人間, there was a similar set-up, with the world of the convenience store suiting Keiko quite well, to the horror of pretty much everyone around her. Whereas we were pretty much in Keiko’s corner for that, I’d venture to say we’re less so for Tamaki. I think what it boils down to is Keiko being in a world that suited her best only really affected her, despite any grievances others had. She had been able to support herself, and though it’s debatable how well she was when it came to that (recalls the food situation), Tamaki’s case for her now being able to live in an ideal world for herself doesn’t meet that threshold. Afterall, she’s cutting off someone else’s life, as well as bringing in ten other lives. While society seems to have a decent response to what happens to those ten new lives, clearly not everyone is really on board with the sacrificed one, or else people wouldn’t decide to kill themselves before their death day. (There was the mention of suicides decreasing since the system came into place, but if the government could convince people to go along with this whole thing, surely they could get them to believe a statistic like that if they wanted to.)

To be honest, I don’t even think this system really suits Tamaki. As a child, she was able to kill bug after bug without having to offer anything up in return. Birthing ten kids just to have your hand at killing one person is a long game. Part of me wonders how satisfied she’ll be in the end. What if she isn’t satisfied after taking that one life? With all that she went through to get to ten (which she still hasn’t technically birthed yet), will she really be willing to attempt the whole process over? It’s a system that works for those with a grudge against one other person (and even that’s debatable). She doesn’t necessarily have that; you could argue she does against her mother, though we haven’t actually heard that from her perspective yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if she went rogue once her contractual kill is fulfilled.

Misaki…is interesting. I groaned when she said she wanted to be a birther, because of course I don’t want her to do that. Guided by that desire, would she try and find someone she wanted to kill, or would she just give up that right should she successfully have ten children? Down the road thinking, but that leads to another insidious aspect of this society: people looking to get angry, looking to find fault with someone enough to justify their decision of becoming a birther. Being on your best behavior likely wouldn’t matter for cases like that.

The ant moment was something, too. I was surprised Ikuko went ahead and killed one of them just to prove a point. That might be something I tuck into the back of my mind for now. I also don’t agree with what she says in that scene. People are always writing down their thoughts and feelings on the times that they’re living through. Unless those records get lost/destroyed, people will know what those living a hundred years before them thought of their society. I mean, we know that about people from a hundred years ago, and new documents and the like are always being discovered. Perhaps no direct memories, but some form of recollection will likely exist. She was also having a real Shiraha-moment, with the whole 「古代から変わらない」. @jhol613 mentioned her passivity, but I think it’s really her just being complacent with present-day society despite her own misgivings with it. She probably represents most people, to be honest. There are a lot of things I get worked up about in society, but that doesn’t mean I actively do things to change any of it. Sakiko is more that type, but as @Phryne pointed out, her methodology comes across as, “I know better than you,” rather than a, “look at it from these different perspectives” sort of approach. Thinking about it, Sakiko and Tamaki might be two sides of the same coin in that respect: both have hard-pressed views on the world they live in, and neither are at all willing to budge from them, thinking that their perspective is the “right” one.

Okay, I think I’m done rambling. I’m eager to see where things go from here. Really surprising that we’re almost done with the story.

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I’d say you got the meaning of it! In the book, it’s actually 「でもこの子たち」rather than 「子たら」

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More Thoughts

I think you described what I was thinking with regard to “passivity” far better than I could have put it. It’s really her willingness to accept the way things are regardless of what she feels is ethical. She allows Misaki to slide further and further into fanaticism without ever challenging her views or acknowledging nuance. I’m sure Misaki is smart enough to think critically, but she doesn’t have any role model in her life who will give her the opportunity to. The only character we’ve seen that is willing to vocally criticize the system is, like you and @Phryne implied, doing so in a way that’s sanctimonious and in every instance we’ve seen, poorly argued (she usually seems to fall back on an argument something along the lines of “this is how it used to be so it must be right”).

So we have three possible “models” of how people can behave in such a dystopia. There’s the zealot who fully embraces the system, the clueless rebel, and what I think is the most abundant and the most insidious–the everyman whose “passivity” allows the system to exist in the first place.

I’m not saying that Ikuko needs to become a Sakiko and go announce to the world that the system is wrong and everybody needs to actively fight it right now, because that’s not remotely practical. But she could question Misaki now and then to get her to think beyond the school system’s indoctrination, or be willing to listen more to Sakiko’s point of view. But Ikuko just laughs and plays along with Misaki’s whole project and (minor week 8 spoiler I think?) praying, and goes out of her way to avoid Sakiko entirely. And for what reason? I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago that Ikuko’s discussion with Sakiko when she first learns that Sakiko is anti-殺人出産 felt criminal. As we’ve read more of the story I’ve come to realize that it’s only really criminal from Ikuko’s (and more likely a broader social) standpoint. There don’t seem to be any thought police in this world! So Ikuko’s lack of even the most minor action in support of her own ethical values comes from a fear of disturbing social balance?

I won’t pretend that conflict avoidance and fear of judgement aren’t powerful factors that affect decisions that people make every day. And I’d be as self-righteous as Sakiko to claim that I don’t act as passively as Ikuko more often than not. But I do think that people have a responsibility to at the very least try to act in accordance with what they believe is right, and to be willing to face some degree of consequence for adhering to their values (how one determines what those values are in the face of a society that largely disagrees is another matter entirely).

I’ll apologize for my rambling as well now. Thanks for your in-depth post! I think it helped uncork some of my own thoughts, especially now that I’ve had a few days to digest a bit (and some time to write with Wanikani being down).

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One could even get the impression that Murata is criticizing today’s Japanese society :eyes:

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Same here! I have just finished the hospital scene, and man oh man the writing transition is great!

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