Kafka on the Shore

by

Haruki Murakami

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Kafka on the Shore: Chapter 27 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Once again, the young Miss Saeki appears in Kafka’s room late at night. This time, he calls out to her, saying her name over and over. He worries that if she leaves, he will be completely devastated. For the first time, she seems to see him. But then, she vanishes.
Kafka’s desire to be connected to and loved by Miss Saeki intensifies, demonstrating his growing dependence on her. He no longer feels like he can survive on his own—a dangerous mindset for a runaway.
Themes
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
The next day, a detective stops by the library and chats with Oshima. Hoping to find and question Kafka, the police have tracked Koichi Tamura’s stolen cell phone to Takamatsu. Oshima covers for Kafka, telling the detective that he hasn’t seen Kafka for several days. When he tells Kafka this, Kafka says he doesn’t want Oshima to put himself in harm’s way by getting involved, but Oshima points out that it’s too late for that. Kafka is still worried that he might be a suspect, because he feels guilty about his father’s death.
Kafka realizes that he has fully drawn Oshima into his runaway plan, potentially putting Oshima in harm’s way by making him an accomplice. Still, Oshima doesn’t seem to mind, reflecting their growing friendship. Kafka’s lingering feelings of guilt show that he continues to believe he is responsible for the contents of his dreams and imagination.
Themes
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Oshima says the police also told him that Kafka had been suspended more than once for violence at school. Kafka admits that on a couple of occasions, he had blacked out and hurt classmates. During those times, it felt as if someone else were controlling his body. Oshima empathizes a little, saying that getting through each day in his physical body, which he calls a “defective container,” can be a challenge. Yet that simple task, surviving each day in his body, isn’t seen as an achievement. Kafka, too, says he hates the container of his body. His face, hands, and blood are all reminders of genes passed down from his parents, an inescapable inheritance. He wishes he could run away from his body like running away from home. Oshima tries to reassure him, counseling that it’s what’s on the inside of both of them—their essence—that matters.
Like Nakata, Kafka has had the experience of violent impulses that feel as if they are being controlled by someone else, and of a desire to behave in a certain way that is outside of his control. This becomes a point of commiseration for Oshima and Kafka: while Kafka feels trapped in a body that was made by his parents, Oshima feels trapped in a body that does not align with his gender identity. They both feel that they have an essence which is different from their bodies and would be better off in different containers. Nonetheless, they are both trapped.
Themes
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
In the afternoon, Kafka takes some coffee up to Miss Saeki. Kafka tells Miss Saeki that he’s in love, but doesn’t reveal with whom. As he’s leaving, he tells Miss Saeki he has to ask her something personal. He asks if she has any children, a question that makes her uncomfortable. Finally, she says she can’t answer. Back downstairs, Kafka feels confused—is he in love with the young ghost of Miss Saeki, or the real, middle-aged woman upstairs?
Kafka’s intense connection to Miss Saeki continues to cloud his judgement. The connection is predicated on the fact that Kafka believes they are being pulled together by the strength of the prophecy.
Themes
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
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