Alienation, Embodiment, and Search for Authenticity Under Capitalism in Mieko Kawakami’s Breasts and Eggs


  • Aniqua Munawar
  • Fariha Chaudhary



Feminist existentialism; Alienation; Embodiment; Authenticity; Mieko Kawakami; Women's writing; Capitalism


Existentialism, a philosophy introduced in the twentieth century, is still relevant in today’s world. However, its implications have gained more dimensions since the understanding of cultural phenomena keeps deepening. Existentialism coupled with Marxism can provide us an understanding of contemporary structures and patterns of human society. Women subjected to their domestic duties and capitalism demands of contributing to the workforce form the subject of this study. Their alienation from the body is augmented by invidious patriarchal demands put on their bodies coupled with strait conditions of poverty. The study is an attempt at exploring the tenets of feminist existentialism in Mieko Kawakami’s novel Breasts and Eggs. The philosophical underpinnings underlying the study are feminist existentialism and Marxism. It will unveil the themes of embodiment, alienation, authenticity, Othering and bad faith in women who are constrained by their financial situation. The novel deals with the lives of three women in Tokyo. Their lives are characterised by their shared sense of the body and alienation. The novel highlights women’s day-to-day experiences and their quest for authenticity in a world hostile to self-assertion and authentic living.