Another Way To Die

In Haruki Murakami’s “Another Way To Die” we see the brutal killing of four men. These four men were cadets at a military school in china that the Japanese ran during their occupation of china. These four men and four more tried to get away because they did not want to fight the war that the Japanese had started. So they took a baseball bat and bashed in the skulls of two of the Japanese instructors. But they were caught on the run. Four of them were killed and the other four were took prisoner.

Now in Japan the soldiers were taught never to disobey an order. If they did there would be harsh punishments. The lieutenant of the group that had theses four prisoner was ordered to dispose of these four men. He was also ordered not to waste a single bullet. So he carried out these orders promptly. He had the four prisoners dig a big hole. The remaining four bodies were dumped in. Then he said, “You’d better watch this, this is another way to die”. He orders his men to tie up three of the men and bayonet them to death. This is a long gruesome process. Then after that is done, he says that he was ordered to kill the last one who was suspected of killing the instructors the same way they were killed, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”. The lieutenant says, “This is another way for people to die.” The last one gets his head bashed in with a baseball bat.

Why are there different ways to die? In the beginning of the story the narrator talks about how the lieutenant came in the day before and killed all of the dangerous animals at the zoo just in case they escaped. They were shot. They got the easy way out. No pain just death. But the Chinese men in this case were butchered. They were not going to get the easy way out. The fourth man was brutally butchered. How are these other ways to die?

When you die you die. The three men suffered just like somebody would in a car accident. Are these two any different than each other? I would have to say yes. These men were being punished for their crimes. But wouldn’t dying still be dying? Aren’t you still not moving, breathing, thinking when you are dead? I believe that the author is trying to show us that there is some honor in dying. If you were shot then that means someone would have the respect to kill you quickly. But these men were killed slowly, because the commander has no respect for them. Even the animals were killed quickly, but the elephants were saved when the animals were slaughtered.

There are different ways to die because people know nothing else. We kill out of rage, pleasure, and because we are made to. It is man who has brought this on itself and this will continue to be the case until we all can learn to get along.