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Magical Realism in The Elephant Vanishes

            The sudden disappearance of the elephant shrouds the story with unresolved mystery. Based on the story, the elephant seems to have become a normal part of the town's life since its adoption a year ago that its disappearance created a commotion. The fact that this event made it to the lead of the newspaper's regional section with the headline "Elephant Missing in Tokyo SuburbCitizen's Fear Mount, Some Call for Probe" shows the town's distress over the disappearance of the elephant (Murakami 453). One may find the headline alone as implausible in the first place, asking how can an elephant vanish into thin air. But as the narrator continues recounts the events from its adoption up to its disappearance, one can see how he and the town's citizens are very concerned about the mystery of this issue. .
             The struggle to make sense of this realistic tale of the elephant's disappearance gives one support for being a magical realist text. In the story, the narrator tells about the peculiar news article that comes from the "confusion and bewilderment of the reporter" (456). No matter how the reporter tries to make a rational explanation of this incident, the evidence around that area points out that there is still a high probability that the elephant has not escaped but instead vanished. Not even the officials can openly admit the latter (457). This is where magical realism first comes to work. Because of this inability to explain the reality behind the incident, the articles about this unexplained phenomenon become "noticeably scarcer after a week had gone by" (459). This implies that the townspeople slowly accept this incident as something natural until there are no more articles regarding the elephant and its keeper's disappearance (465). In a sense, this mystery becomes accepted as some kind of a natural occurrence, something that assimilates into the town's reality, and something that is no longer strange.

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