Kafka on the Shore


Haruki Murakami

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Kafka on the Shore: Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

In Sakura’s apartment, Kafka tells Sakura about running away from home and that his mother and sister left the family when he was just four, but decides not to tell her anything about his father. Sakura tells Kafka that the only person he can rely on is himself. Kafka sets up a sleeping bag on the floor for the night.
Even as Kafka opens up to Sakura, he feels like he has to hold information back from her and remain closed off within himself. Her statement that he can only rely on himself seems to confirm that instinct. Even as Kafka begins to connect to a new friend, he can’t shake the lonely feeling that he must keep some of his deepest concerns private.
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Before long, Sakura tells Kafka he can get into bed with her, but that they can’t have sex since she has a boyfriend in Tokyo. Still, she starts to give him a handjob, while asking him questions about his older sister. Kafka asks if he can picture Sakura naked. Sakura thinks it’s a silly question, but Kafka believes that imagining is important and that Sakura has a right to know what he’s thinking about her.
That Sakura talks to Kafka about his sister during this sexual exchange suggests that, for Kafka, whether or not he likes it, the idea of sleeping with his sister may have become sexualized for him.
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The next morning, Kafka wakes to find that Sakura has gone to work, leaving him alone in the apartment. He cleans the apartment and leaves Sakura a note thanking her for the night before. He’s not sure what to do next: he doesn’t want to return to his hotel in case he committed a crime the night before, and he doesn’t know anyone in town. He feels as if he is being pulled by destiny to the Komura Memorial Library, and that everything will work out if he goes there, so he heads towards the library.
Kafka lets his belief in fate and destiny guide him in this moment of uncertainty. His belief in fate can be debilitating because it makes him feel trapped, but in moments like this one his belief in fate, regardless of whether or not it is misguided, helps him to act decisively. Murakami demonstrates that belief in fate is a double-edged sword, providing both a sense of direction and fear of the future.
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