Kafka on the Shore


Haruki Murakami

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Crows Symbol Icon

As Kafka himself points out, the name “Kafka” means crow in Czech, which is part of why he chose the name for himself. Crows in Kafka on the Shore are harbingers of protection, warning, and advice. More specifically, they signify wisdom that feels as if it is coming from an inner voice or conscience. Thus, they speak to the importance of heeding inner voices and instincts, as well as pausing to take a step back before entering into dangerous territory. Crows appear most prominently in the role of the boy called Crow, a persona that Kafka imagines giving him advice and encouragement in times of danger. Crows also appear at key moments in the novel when Kafka seems to be entering into physically or emotionally dangerous territory. For example, at each of the moments when Kafka begins his sexual relationship with Miss Saeki, dreams of raping Sakura, and enters into the deepest part of the forest, a crow caws ominously in the distance, as if trying to warn him. Crows are an embodiment of wisdom that Kafka possesses but to which he does not always have full access.

Crows Quotes in Kafka on the Shore

The Kafka on the Shore quotes below all refer to the symbol of Crows. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
The Boy Named Crow Quotes

Sometimes fate is like a sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change directions but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you.

Related Characters: The Boy Called Crow (speaker), Kafka Tamura
Related Symbols: Crows
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 39 Quotes

What makes sense, what doesn’t, it’s all mixed up. Above me, a crow gives out a piercing caw that sounds like a warning, it’s so jarring. I stop and cautiously survey my surroundings.

Related Characters: Kafka Tamura (speaker)
Related Symbols: Crows
Page Number: 367
Explanation and Analysis:
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Crows Symbol Timeline in Kafka on the Shore

The timeline below shows where the symbol Crows appears in Kafka on the Shore. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 31
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
...afterwards. And this time, Kafka hears her car pull out of the driveway. As a crow caws in the distance, Kafka thinks that everyone in the world is living in a... (full context)
Chapter 33
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
...to become stronger, because he has no one to rely on but himself—like a stray crow, which is why he chose the name “Kafka,” because it means “Crow” in Czech. Kafka... (full context)
Chapter 37
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
...being fifteen. He wishes he could transcend his age and body and zoom like a crow to where she is, or that she would appear—for real or as a ghost—in the... (full context)
Chapter 39
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Music and Introspection Theme Icon
...he ventures into the dark forest until he isn’t sure how to get back. A crow squawks in warning. Somehow, he stumbles back to the clearing. (full context)
The Mind vs. The Body Theme Icon
Fate and Prophecy Theme Icon
...reality. In the dream, Kafka slips into bed with Sakura, who is deep asleep. A crow caws loudly, but he can’t see it. As he begins to touch Sakura, he feels... (full context)
Chapter 43
The Virtues of Self-Sufficiency Theme Icon
Kafka feels himself turn into a black crow. Crow tells Kafka that his mother did love him, and that by forgiving her or... (full context)