Kafka on the Shore

by

Haruki Murakami

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Kafka on the Shore: Chapter 49 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
To Kafka’s surprise, it is Oshima’s brother who picks him up from the cabin. On the drive back, Kafka says that he wandered deep into the woods, even though Oshima warned him not to. Oshima’s brother said that he once did the same. But they both agree that it would be impossible to express what happened to them out loud.
Although Kafka and Oshima’s brother have both shared an incredibly unique, powerful experience, in this moment they realize that some experiences can never be fully communicated with others. Their own, separate conclusions are more meaningful than anything they might say to each other about the woods.
Themes
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Back at the library, Oshima tells Kafka that Miss Saeki died of a heart attack. He says he believes that it was predestined, as did Miss Saeki.  Kafka says that it’s time for him to face the police and return to school and Tokyo. The two say goodbye, promising to meet again someday.
Oshima and Miss Saeki’s belief in predestination softens the blow of her death, allowing Oshima to be more at peace with what happened—just as he is more at peace with the prospect of his own death because he believes he can control exactly when it will come. Meanwhile, Kafka enters a new stage of his independence, realizing that he must return to face his responsibilities at home. His sadness at the loss of Miss Saeki and bittersweet parting with Oshima are testaments to the close friendships he has formed, even though he set off to become a totally self-sufficient runaway.
Themes
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
At the train station, Kafka calls Sakura to tell her he’s going home. She tells him she had a dream about him, in which he was wandering in a labyrinth-like house. When they say goodbye, Kafka calls her “sister.”
Sakura’s dream about Kafka is different from the dream he had about her, which undercuts his feeling that his own dream was somehow real or had the power to influence Sakura. Still, Sakura’s dream does reflect Kafka’s experience of wandering in the labyrinth-like woods, suggesting that dreams do have some power or relationship to fate. Kafka still sees Sakura as his sister, suggesting that he has developed a more expansive sense of identity—both his own and those of others.
Themes
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
Related Quotes
On the train, Kafka thinks about Miss Saeki and everything that has happened to him. Crow tells him that he did the right thing, and even though he can’t escape time and he has a lot to learn about the world, he’s still the toughest fifteen-year-old in the world. Crow tells him to get some sleep, and he does.
Kafka is at peace, yet as he leaves Takamatsu he is still preoccupied by many of the same thoughts as when he arrived. He still imagines that there could be a better, stronger version of himself embodied in a new identity, Crow. He still feels trapped by thoughts of the future, even though the power of the prophecy seems to have lessened. He still values being tough and independent, even though he has formed deep attachments to people like Miss Saeki.
Themes
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
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