Kafka on the Shore


Haruki Murakami

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Kafka on the Shore: Chapter 48 Summary & Analysis

The black cat, named Toro, offers to help Hoshino with the stone. Toro says that Hoshino will need to kill something that’s trying to get through the entrance—he can’t describe it, but Hoshino will know it when he sees it. Late that night, he hears a rustling coming from Nakata’s body. A long, pale, thin object is emanating from Nakata’s mouth. It’s as thick around as Hoshino’s arm, and glistening. Hoshino tries over and over again to stab the creature, but it heals immediately each time. Panicked, Hoshino realizes he must close the entrance stone before the thing can slither over. It has once again become impossibly heavy, and Hoshino strains every muscle in his body to flip it over. But finally, he succeeds.
Toro is one of many surreal characters in the novel who seem to be able to offer mysterious predictions about the near future. Toro’s cryptic advice helps Hoshino know what to do. This is especially helpful given that Hoshino feels at a loss without the guidance Nakata provided. Although Nakata’s directions up until his death had seemed to be fairly random and cryptic, without them, Hoshino realizes that he feels lonely and unsure of himself. With Toro’s help, Hoshino relies on his own instincts to finish the supernatural mission that Nakata started.
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After the stone is closed, it’s fairly easy to dispatch the creature—Hoshino cuts it up into small pieces and bags them up. Hoshino realizes that it’s time to go home. In a way, Nakata will live on through him, because he knows that from now on, he will try to see things from Nakata’s perspective. He’s almost a container for Nakata’s soul. Hoshino leaves the apartment.
Hoshino has learned much over the course of his brief, strange relationship with Nakata. He feels a renewed sense of purpose and self-worth. He also has the strange feeling that Nakata’s essence will live on, even though his physical body has died. He vows to honor that living memory.
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