January 12, 2014
Word Count: 923
The Development of Doubles in Kafka on the Shore: Duality within Individual Characters
Parallelism is a common theme Haruki Murakami includes in Kafka on the Shore. Arguably, the main protagonists can be connected to one another through commonalities. It is also falsifiable to say that duality is also present within each individual character. The dramatic change of character description from the beginning to the end of the novel indicates that within each character, dual identities are present. The most prominent characters in which this is displayed are Oshima, Nakata, and Kafka. The significance or doubles throughout the novel is displayed within some individual characters through the juxtaposition of opposing character identities, which implies that within a single person, multiple identities can be present.
In the case of Oshima, the duality within himself is his sexuality, and therefore becomes a contrast of his physical and mental state. In the beginning of the novel Oshima was always thought of as being a male, like through his interests of cars and risking his life by speeding down the highway. Stereotypically women are thought to be more careful and aren’t normally willing to risk their lives when it is not necessary. Oshima also portrays male traits, when compared to Kafka’s interests in sunbathing nude while at the cabin. Oshima says, “I used to sunbathe nude here all the time” (Murakami 151). Once his real gender is revealed, the true dynamic of his internal duality is exposed. “My [Oshima’s] body is physically female,” (179) so there is nothing he/she can do about it. “My [Oshima’s] mind’s completely male.” (179) the opposite of physical is mental, and the opposite of female is male. Inside of Oshima is where these two contrasting ideas coexist, and they do successfully in Oshima’s case. The duality within Oshima is what makes him “whole”. The doubles displayed within Oshima is greater than any...
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