Kafka on the Shore
By: Haruki Murakami
1. "Kafka on the Shore" is a story of two men who are traveling for different reasons. Murakami structures the work using magical realism. Kafka Tamura has run away from an abusive father; while Nakata is an older man who is able to talk to cats. Both men search for the door to a spiritual realm. Murakami opens the story with information about Kafka and his background; his mother leaves the family when he is little, taking his sister with him. This event motivates the father to be emotionally abusive towards him. Questions surround this character when he wakes up one day covered in blood. Kafka searches for answers. In contrast, Nakata is in search for a lost cat. Nakata's background is unique, because he just woke up one day with this ability. By the end of "Kafka on the Shore," the two men experience different types of relationships. They enter the spiritual world, but later return to the real world to continue their lives.
2. I feel like the theme is desire. The desire to what you want and learn for yourself. Kafka does this throughout the whole novel repeatedly. Even with other important characters they all do what they desire to do despite the outcome or what the odds are saying against it.
3. The author of this novel seems to me to have a sort of assertive tone as he lays out his story for the reader.
"From now on - no matter what - you've got to be the world's toughest fifteen-year-old. That's the only way you're going to survive."
The Boy Named Crow, p. 5
"Naturally, I have zero friends. I've built a wall around myself, never letting anybody inside and trying not to venture outside myself. Who could like somebody like that? They all keep an eye on me, from a distance. They might hate me, or even be afraid of me, but I'm just glad they don't bother me."
Chapter 1, p. 9
"What I think is this: you should give up looking for lost cats and start searching for the other half of your shadow."
Nakata tugged a few times at the bill of his hat in his hands. "To tell the truth, Nakata's had that feeling before. That my shadow is weak. Other people might not notice, but I do."
Chapter 6, p. 52
4. Literary techniques that bettered my understanding of the purpose, theme and tone were diction, syntax, symbolism, and style.
Diction: The authors word choice helped me understand the tone a lot better because he used charged adjectives, very descriptive and to the point in the writing.
“But if something did happen, it happened. Whether it's right or wrong. I accept everything that happens, and that's how I became the person I am now.”
Syntax: The way he wrote his sentences and how they all had a purpose allowed me to enjoy the book as well as understand it. He used long descriptive sentences.
“The journey I'm taking is inside me. Just like blood travels down veins, what I'm seeing is my inner self and what seems threatening is just the echo of the fear in my heart.”
Symbolism: symbolism was used a lot in the novel. One major symbol that helped me understand the purpose of the novel was the crow. it symbolized Kafka's inner struggles and how hard things were going for him at this time.
Style: The authors style was unique and helped me get a feel for the writing and the meaning. The author alternates chapters with different stories every even and odd chapters. This was interesting and the two characters were so complex that it allowed me to stay completely interested in his point in the end of the novel.