The Elephant Vanishes

by

Haruki Murakami

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Elephant Vanishes can help.

The Woman at the Party Character Analysis

An attractive young woman whom the narrator meets at a business party. Like most other characters in the story, the woman is unnamed, only referred to as “her” and “she” by the narrator. The woman is a twenty-six-year-old editor of a women’s magazine and attends an advertising campaign launch party thrown by the narrator’s company to gather information for an article. The narrator and the woman hit it off and retire to the hotel cocktail lounge after the party to continue their conversation. The woman is the only person to whom the narrator confesses his unique perspective on the disappearance of the elephant because she seems to be a good listener and interested in the topic. The woman is confused and unsettled by the narrator’s description of the change in size he witnessed between the elephant and its keeper as well as by the narrator’s conviction that the elephant vanished into thin air. Although the woman only appears briefly in the story and the narrator never sees her again after the night they meet, she is the one who solidifies the narrator’s belief that the shift in his perception caused by the elephant’s disappearance is permanent and will continue to prevent him from deeply connecting with other people.

The Woman at the Party Quotes in The Elephant Vanishes

The The Elephant Vanishes quotes below are all either spoken by The Woman at the Party or refer to The Woman at the Party. 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 most important point is unity,” I explained. “Even the most beautifully designed item dies if it is out of balance with its surroundings. Unity of design, unity of color, unity of function: This is what today’s kit-chin needs above all else.”

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Woman at the Party
Page Number: 319
Explanation and Analysis:

“I’m finding this a little hard to grasp,” she said softly. “You were carrying on a perfectly normal conversation with me until a couple of minutes ago—at least until the subject of the elephant came up. Then something funny happened. I can’t understand you anymore. Something’s wrong. Is it the elephant? Or are my ears playing tricks on me?”

Related Characters: The Woman at the Party (speaker), The Narrator, The Elephant
Page Number: 322
Explanation and Analysis:

It was a mysterious sight. Looking through the vent, I had the feeling that a different, chilling kind of time was flowing through the elephant house—but nowhere else. And it seemed to me, too, that the elephant and the keeper were gladly giving themselves over to this new order that was trying to envelop them—or that had already partially succeeded in enveloping them.

Page Number: 325-326
Explanation and Analysis:

I felt like this a lot after my experience with the vanishing elephant. I would begin to think I wanted to do something, but then I would become incapable of distinguishing between the probable results of doing it and of not doing it. I often get the feeling that things around me have lost their proper balance, though it could be that my perceptions are playing tricks on me. Some kind of balance inside me has broken down since the elephant affair, and maybe that causes external phenomena to strike my eye in a strange way. It’s probably something in me.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Elephant, The Woman at the Party
Page Number: 327
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Elephant Vanishes LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Elephant Vanishes PDF

The Woman at the Party Character Timeline in The Elephant Vanishes

The timeline below shows where the character The Woman at the Party 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
Order, Perception, and Imbalance Theme Icon
Modernity Theme Icon
...narrator (who works in public relations at an electrical appliance manufacturer) meets an attractive young woman (an editor of a women’s magazine) at a launch party for his company’s new advertising... (full context)
Alienation, Connection, and Unity Theme Icon
Order, Perception, and Imbalance Theme Icon
The narrator and the woman take a liking to each other, and he invites her to continue their conversation at... (full context)
Alienation, Connection, and Unity Theme Icon
Humans vs. Animals Theme Icon
The narrator realizes that the woman can sense that there is more to the elephant story than he is telling her.... (full context)
Alienation, Connection, and Unity Theme Icon
Order, Perception, and Imbalance Theme Icon
The narrator then reveals the strangest aspect of the disappearance to the woman: on May 17 (the night before the disappearance), he observed a sudden difference in the... (full context)
Alienation, Connection, and Unity Theme Icon
Order, Perception, and Imbalance Theme Icon
After the narrator recounts these strange events to the woman, an awkward silence falls over the pair as the woman is left confused and speechless.... (full context)