Kafka on the Shore

by

Haruki Murakami

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Kafka on the Shore: Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Hitchhiking in an eighteen-wheeler truck, Nakata arrives at a rest area in Fujigawa, west of Tokyo. It’s been a long day: because he can’t read, Nakata found it impossible to navigate the series of trains and buses he would have needed to catch to make it to the highway on his own. Eventually, he asked for help from two friendly office workers, who helped him get a ride with a truck driver named Togeguchi. From there, a second truck driver, Hagita, took Nakata the rest of the way to Fujigawa.
As Nakata makes his way out of Tokyo, he begins to push at the limits of his independence and self-sufficiency. He has made a life for himself in Tokyo, but as he makes his way out of the city he realizes that he will need to rely on others to help him overcome basic challenges. Luckily, Nakata learns from reaching out and asking for help that there are plenty of helpful strangers willing to assist him—and knowing how to get help is its own kind of self-sufficient skill.
Themes
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Related Quotes
At the rest stop, Nakata can’t find anyone who will take him further west. He sees a group of tattooed men beating and kicking another man on the ground in the parking lot. Nakata tells the men to stop, but they ignore him. Once again, he feels something foreign welling up inside him, as he did when Johnnie Walker was killing the cats. Looking to the sky, Nakata calmly opens his umbrella. As if on his command, leeches begin to rain from the sky, and the young men flee.
Once again, Murakami shows that Nakata seems to have the ability to predict or even precipitate strange events (like leeches falling from the sky). This, it seems, is connected to the resurgence of the feeling that something foreign is welling up inside him—perhaps the impulse to act violently, or to protect others from violence.
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The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Shortly afterwards, Nakata finds a truck driver who will take him to Kobe. He is a twenty-something man with a distinctive style: a ponytail, earring, and flamboyant Hawaiian shirt. He says Nakata reminds him of his grandfather, which is why he agrees to help him.
Like Sakura and Kafka, the truck driver places significance on this chance encounter with Nakata, in part because Nakata reminds him of a family member with whom he shared a special connection.
Themes
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon