The Elephant Vanishes

by

Haruki Murakami

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The mayor of the town in which the story takes place. After the town’s zoo closes and the story’s titular elephant is left abandoned, the mayor agrees that the town will take ownership of the animal in a deal negotiated with the zoo’s former owners and the developers who purchased the zoo’s land. Though the mayor ostensibly cares more for the elephant’s wellbeing than the townspeople (particularly the opposition party who would just as soon have the elephant euthanized), he is primarily interested in using the homeless elephant as the town’s symbol and projecting an altruistic and politically favorable image.

The Mayor Quotes in The Elephant Vanishes

The The Elephant Vanishes quotes below are all either spoken by The Mayor or refer to The Mayor. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Alienation, Connection, and Unity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Elephant Vanishes published in 1994.
The Elephant Vanishes Quotes

The longer the elephant problem remained unsolved, the more interest the developer had to pay for nothing. Still, simply killing the thing would have been out of the question. If it had been a spider monkey or a bat, they might have been able to get away with it, but the killing of an elephant would have been too hard to cover up, and if it ever came out afterward, the repercussions would have been tremendous.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Elephant, The Mayor, The Townspeople
Page Number: 310
Explanation and Analysis:

On its right rear leg, the elephant wore a solid, heavy-looking steel cuff from which there stretched a thick chain perhaps thirty feet long, and this in turn was securely fastened to a concrete slab. Anyone could see what a sturdy anchor held the beast in place: The elephant could have struggled with all its might for a hundred years and never broken the thing.

Related Symbols: The Shackle
Page Number: 312
Explanation and Analysis:

Riddled as it was with such perplexities and labored circumlocutions, the newspaper article as a whole left but one possible conclusion: The elephant had not escaped. It had vanished. Needless to say, however, neither the newspaper nor the police nor the mayor was willing to admit—openly, at least—that the elephant had vanished.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Elephant, The Mayor, The Townspeople
Page Number: 315
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Elephant Vanishes LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Elephant Vanishes PDF

The Mayor Character Timeline in The Elephant Vanishes

The timeline below shows where the character The Mayor appears in The Elephant Vanishes. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Elephant Vanishes
Alienation, Connection, and Unity Theme Icon
Modernity Theme Icon
Humans vs. Animals Theme Icon
...four months and prevents the high-rise developer from moving forward with demolition and construction. The mayor negotiates an agreement that the town will take in the elephant at no cost, the... (full context)
Alienation, Connection, and Unity Theme Icon
Order, Perception, and Imbalance Theme Icon
Modernity Theme Icon
Humans vs. Animals Theme Icon
...to the past, an opposition movement rises up among the townspeople in response to the mayor’s decision to take in the elephant, arguing that housing the animal would be expensive, dangerous,... (full context)
Alienation, Connection, and Unity Theme Icon
Order, Perception, and Imbalance Theme Icon
Modernity Theme Icon
...The narrator believes that amid the absurdity and confusion of the situation, the newspaper reporter, mayor, and local police are denying the only plausible conclusion (that the elephant and its keeper... (full context)
Alienation, Connection, and Unity Theme Icon
Modernity Theme Icon
While the mayor assures the townspeople that the “malicious act” of stealing the elephant will be punished, members... (full context)