Discussion will take place in the Guidance Conference Room.

Alex Trippe (facilitator)
Ben Thompson
Liam Thompson
Cam Kennedy
Anna Smith
Sammy Jones
Bill Rixon
Christine van Alstine

Discussion Protocols:

-Whip
-Leveled Questions
-Another Point of View

Discussion Questions:

Who is the boy named Crow? How is he related to Kafka's character?
What role does fate play in the novel? Do you think karma affects Kafka's destiny?
How has Kafka changed by the end of the novel? What are the most important things he has learned?
Do you think Miss Saeki was actually Kafka's mother?
Do you think that Colonel Sanders is the same person as Johnny Walker or a similar entity who is the moral antithesis?
What symbolism was hidden behind the chapter with Johnny Walker and the boy named Crow? How did it connect to the story as a whole?
Did the "wartime affliction" ever get a reason for its occurrence? Why did it get so many chapters at the beginning of the book and was never brought back into the story in any significant way in the end?
What is the importance of the name Kafka in this novel? Why did Kafka choose this name, and why is there the coincidence that this was Miss Saeki's lover's name as well?

Culture and Context:

At the beginning of the novel, the schoolteacher mentions how the children went into comas around the time of the atomic bombs. What are some important facts that we should know about the atomic bombs?
Is there an interview with Murakami about Kafka on the Shore that we could read?
How is Pachinko played? Pachinko
How popular is the Chunichi Dragons baseball team in Japan?
How do Japanese beliefs on purgatory and the spirit world relate to the ideas about these topics in the novel? Japan Values and Beliefs -alex
Was it normal for a fifteen year-old boy to run away from home?
Are all of Murukami's novels this strange? Are there general themes that apply to the majority of his novels?

Pre-discussion Processing:

Characters: Kafka Tamura, Nakata, Johnnie Walker, Miss Saeki, Oshima, Sakura, Hoshino
Setting: Takamatsu, Japan and early on Nagano Ward, Tokyo
Important Plot Events: When Nakata kills Johnnie Walker/Kafka's father- it introduces another element of how the past and present and the characters are fluid and almost transport into realistic dreams. It also sets Nakata on his great journey and is another connection between Kafka and Nakata as they follow the same path in the novel.
When Kafka sleeps with Miss Saeki- this is an important section of the novel because it presents Kafka as perhaps being the ghost of Miss Saeki's long-dead lover, Miss Saeki as a ghost herself at fifteen, and more simply as Kafka's Oedipus-ian prophesy being fufilled that one day Kafka would murder his father and be with his mother.
When Kafka travels deep into the woods with the Japanese soldiers- this section is dreamlike and the reader is unsure of what is going on. Is Kafka dead? What is the significance of him being there? What does this have to do with Nakata and the entrance stone?
Conflicts: Oedipal curse, Nakata and the entrance stone
Narration (p.o.v): When talking about Kafka it is in the first person, but when talking about anyone else it is in the third person.
Important Passages (everyone post one passage):
  • ""The stone thing didn't pan out, but that's all right," Hoshino told him.
    "We just got started. Let's get a good night's sleep and see what tomorrow
    brings.""
  • “According to Aristophanes in Plato's The Banquet, in the ancient world of legend there were three types of people. In ancient times people weren't simply male or female, but one of three types : male/male, male/female or female/female. In other words, each person was made out of the components of two people. Everyone was happy with this arrangement and never really gave it much thought. But then God took a knife and cut everyone in half, right down the middle. So after that the world was divided just into male and female, the upshot being that people spend their time running around trying to locate their missing half.” -Oshima to Kafka inside the library
  • "And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about” (Murukami 6).