In-class supervised essay
March 8 2013
The significance and impact of the supernatural in Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore
One of the most striking features of Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore is the use of supernatural elements. There are many instances in the book where supernatural events occur and are never really explained by the author. This may seem off-putting to some readers who want all knots tied and events explained, and to others, it just adds to the exquisite and unique taste of the book, whose conclusion creates more questions and answers none. Ghosts appear and make love to the characters, animal rain from the sky, there seems to be past or present in time and music and art serve as doorways inside a person’s soul. Murakami never gives a perceived explanation for these events and merely provides hints that make us think that the whole incident might have been just a metaphor. Regardless of the frustrating lack of answers, each supernatural event in the book is very significant and has an impact on the work as a whole.
Let’s take, for example, an instance about halfway through the book where Nakata and Hoshino stop at a rest stop on the way to their destination. As Nakata steps out for fresh air, he sees a young man getting beat up by some teenagers. He attempts to try and stop them, and we as the readers find it comical that this weak, old, frail man who talks to cats and constantly calls himself ‘dumb’, is actually dumb enough to try to put a stop to the incident by himself. This moment can be compared to the quests of Don Quixote and the Coyote’s attempt to catch the Roadrunner because we know that his ‘quest’ is hopeless and he is going to fail. However, what comes next surprises us. Nakata calmly opens his umbrella in the middle of the day and leeches rain down from the sky (Suddenly, unfamiliar greasy objects began to rain down from the sky, striking the...
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