Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Michael Beard


This essay is a comparative reading of Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises and Haruki Murakami's Norwegian Wood as examples of abjection in the novel form. This subgenre, termed the Novel of Abjection, exemplifies Julia Kristeva's notion of abjection as occurring after a distinct separation from social norms and a movement toward destruction, violence, and insanity. This breaking-off occurs through catastrophe on the part of tragic characters, anomie, and the collection of a group sensibility through a first-person narrator. By carefully reading the two novels and exploring these common themes, the narrative mechanisms of the novels operate around abjection. As a result of this reading, the phenomenon that is here explained as breaking-off results in a shift in awareness, and that the result of breaking-off is either an illuminated return to society or a descent into complete abjection.