Kafka on the Shore Analysis Kafka Versus Oshima

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As humans, we believe we can control much of our everyday lives. A person can choose any path he or she desires; we have the power to select our own destiny. However, this idea is frequently questioned; Greek mythology was often about a character’s struggle against a predetermined outcome. Haruki Murakami is able to illustrate an example of this internal conflict in his book Kafka on the Shore. Many times, minor character’s actions help emphasize the main idea of a novel, especially with the foil allowing the author to highlight key traits of the protagonist. Oshima’s character contrasts that of Kafka’s in order to better convey the idea that a person’s fate is inevitable. The author uses the gender identity of Oshima and the symbol of blood to portray Kafka’s internal struggle against his own destiny. The most prominent difference between the two characters is their physical appearance. Oshima is a tall slender female who poses as a homosexual male; Kafka is a hyper muscular adolescent who is fully aware of his sexual identity. Much conflict that Oshima would face in his life would be external with society since today our culture is not completely contented with transgender individuals. Kafka, on the other hand, is an average boy who has no issues blending into a crowd. The magical realism in the novel is based around the internal conflict of Kafka escaping his own fate; the fact that Kafka befriends a person like Oshima only emphasizes this idea. An example of myths used in the novel is the Greek story of people searching for their other halves. Kafka finds his other half with the library’s manager when he becomes her old boyfriend, and Miss Saeki and Nakata exist as half people both destined to open the entrance stone. Oshima not having a distinct gender identity shows how he is separate from the character’s fate; he is unable to search for another half. The

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