Dreams And Reality In Kafka On The Shore

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In his novel Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami utilizes elements of surrealism to interweave dreams and reality. Kafka Tamaru, the eponymous hero, encounters moments when he realizes the intersecting of reality and the dream world, but does not remember whether what happens is his own experience or another’s. Because Kafka’s mother and sister left him with his father when he was a boy, he has little to no recollection of them – his only memory of them is on a beach, near the water, where they vacationed a long time ago. His mother and sister are faceless figures as if they had never existed, and as if they were part of a dream. Satoru Nakata, an elderly man who was involved in the Rice Bowl Hill Incident in 1944 that left him illiterate, also experiences instances when he cannot confirm the reality in several bizarre settings. The mentally disabled Nakata, with his middle aged-companion, Hoshino, travel from their home in Nakano Ward to Shikoku, where Nakata believes he is destined to be. As the title suggests, the shore is an integral element to this story – it is an unclear border that shifts, but connects two distinct components. Kafka’s and Nakata’s drifts between dreams and reality make them incapable of distinguishing their true memories from those from their dreams, thereby exemplifying Murakami’s idea that dreams and reality are constantly interacting with each other upon the shore. Murakami uses the easily penetrable veil that separates the dream world from reality, the shore, to enhance Kafka’s relationship with Ms. Saeki. Ms. Saeki, a woman in her mid-forties, is the owner of the library that Kafka is staying at for the duration of his escape from home. Kafka is attracted to Ms. Saeki in her teenager-ghost form, whic... ... middle of paper ... ...rs two soldiers from the past who guide him to the dream world and back. When Kafka arrives back at his cabin, he reflects on the painting in his room at the library. “Waves crash softly against the shore. They rise up, fall, and break. Rise up, fall, and break. And my consciousness is sucked into a dim, dark corridor” (455). The waves are the dream world, and the sand is reality. However many times the wave, or the dream world, meets the shore, it will never succeed in drowning reality with it – before reaching far onto the shore, the wave breaks and retracts, like an endless cycle. Murakami compares the shore to aspects of real life: “Far away a crow calls. The Earth slowly keeps on turning. But beyond any of those details of the real, there are dreams. And everyone’s living in them” (300). He states that under each mask, there are dreams that people are living.

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