Forgiveness In The Seventh Man by Haruki Murakami
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward” (Steve Maraboli). In the seventh man the narrator of the story struggles with self-forgiveness. Not being able to forgive himself for what he could’ve done to save his friend, he lives the rest of his life in misery. Living in fear and hatred of himself he forgets to live and remains in his past not being able to move forward. The seventh man should forgive himself for his failure to save his friend K because he was only a frightened child at the time and by not forgiving himself, he takes his own life away too.
It is important for the seventh man to forgive himself because he was frightened. In the “what made me do this, I’m sure was fear, a fear so overpowering it took my voice away and set my legs to running on their own” (30, the seventh man). This quote shows how the seventh man was really scared at the time and by not being able to control his fear he tries to run away. The seventh man should forgive himself because the seventh man did in fact try to save K. but it was too late, and he was not the cause of his death. “I was sure I yelled loud enough, but my voice did not seem to have reached him. He might have been so absorbed in whatever it was he had found that my call made no impression on him.” (paragraph 28, the seventh man). This explains how the seventh man did in fact try to save K although K didn’t hear him.
the seventh did try to save K which doesn’t make him guilty and makes it important to forgive himself. “subjective guilt, associated with the sense of responsibility, is thought to be irrational because one feels guilty despite the fact that he knows he has done nothing wrong.” (paragraph 4, the moral logic of survivor’s guilt). This quote explains what the seventh man is feeling, and it shows how it isn’t his fault that K died so he should not feel guilty. Another reason he should forgive himself is because if he lives with this guilt then he would be slowly killing himself. “but the most frightening thing we can do at such times is to turn our backs on it, to close our eyes. For then we take the most precious thing inside us and surrender it to something else.” (paragraph 65, the seventh man). This quote explains how when we don’t forgive ourselves and let fear take over us we lose ourselves and the things that make us who we are.
Someone might think about how the seventh man could have in fact saved K in time. They might argue that he could have pulled him out before the wave. “But I knew the truth. I knew that I could have saved K. if I had tried. I probably could have ran over and dragged him out of the reach of the wave. It would have been close, but as I went over the timing of the events in my memory, it always seemed to me that I could have made it.” (paragraph 41, the seventh man). The seventh man could have saved K in time, but it was fear that took over him. He couldn’t get himself to go there. He tried to yell at him, but he couldn’t control his voice. In the time of fear, we can’t always control what we do and after all he was only a child.
In conclusion, I think that the seventh man should forgive himself from his failure to save his friend K. The seventh man was only a scared child at the time that wanted to get home safely. He also tried to save him, but it was too late. What the seventh man was feeling was subjective guilt which proves the point that he should forgive himself because he wasn’t the cause of his friend’s death. Living with the guilt and pain of what happened without forgiving himself, the seventh man would be slowly killing himself. Although the seventh man could have saved K. in time he was frightened and couldn’t move.