Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Break Assignment: Kafka on the Shore Literature Circle

 Below is our groups' collaborated  Spring Break lit. circle efforts on: 

Kafka on the Shore 


By Haruki Murakami


     Kafka on the Shore lit. circle members:

Torre Reddick

Kathryn Greenup

Dylan Samarasena

Hayden Robel


Fifty multiple choice questions on
Kafka on the Shore
By Haruki  Murakami 

UPDATE/NOTE: These questions where created whilst reading the novel thus are very specific to the novel events unlike an AP style test analyzing a passage. Apologies in advance! (also the below is a modified multiple choice style quiz instead of the previous open ended quiz in the original posting...feel free to take either!)

1. Which of the following weather storms hits Kafka while he is wandering through the woods at Oshima's cottage?

2. After Nakata dies, who inherits his ability to understand animals?
The ability is lost forever.

3. How does Nakata kill Johnny Walker?
a.He stabs him.
b.He poisons him.
c.He shoots him.
d.He drowns him.

4. Which of the following words completes this phrase which Johnny Walker said to Nakata: "This is a war and you'll learn how to ___________"?

5. After Nakata murders Johnny Walker, what changes about him?
a.He gets his memory back.
b.He is suddenly wealthy.
c.He can no longer understand cats.
d.He is no longer illiterate.

6. Who does Nakata remind Hoshino of?
a.His father.
b.His grandfather.
c.His brother.
d.His uncle.

7. What is the name of Mrs. Saeki's spirit?
d.She has no name.

8. Who is asked to kill evil before it can escape through the entrance stone?

9. How does Nakata react when he sees some bikers beating a man at the truck stop?
a.He is terrified.
b.He is confused.
c.He is amused.
d.He is enraged.

10. How long does Kafka spend unattended at Oshima's cottage?
a.Three years.
b.Three months.
cThree days.
d.Three weeks.

11. What weather storms into the city after Hoshino steals the entrance stone?

12. How old was Nakata when his mentor died, closing the shop where they both worked?

13. Where was Mrs. Saeki's boyfriend killed?
a.At a book sale.
b.At a student protest.
c.At a birthday party.
d.At a rock concert.

14. How old was Mrs. Saeki when she opened the entrance stone for the first time?

15. Which part of the paralyzed cats' bodies does Johnny Walker eat while Nakata looks on, horrified?
a.Their eyes.
b.Their brains.
c.Their tongues.
d.Their hearts.

16. How does Hoshino carry the entrance stone back to his hotel room? In a taxi cab.
a.In a wagon.
b.In his pocket.
c.In a backpack.

17. Which of the following phrases does Mrs. Saeki use to describe herself?
a.An incomplete shadow.
b.A separated whole.
c.A boundless body.
d.A mysterious soul.

18. What is pachinko?
b.A type of sticky rice.
c.A gambling game.
d.A child's toy.

19. Who is the only other person that Kafka encounters as he is wandering through the woods?
a.Mrs. Saeki's spirit.
b.A Japanese soldier.
c.A small, frightened girl.
d.He does not encounter any other person.

20. Which of the following is NOT something that ceases to matter in the deserted village?

21. What party does the political trucker align himself with?

22. What is the name of the philosopher that the prostitute recites, that Hoshino meets?
a.Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
b.James Boswell.
c.Marquis de Condorcet.
d.Jose Celestino Mutis.

23. What is the name of the city that Nakata is trying to reach by hitchhiking?

24. From where did Hoshino steal the entrance stone?
a.From a cemetery.
b.From a playground.
c.From a religious shrine.
d.From a river.

25. What request does Johnny Walker make of Nakata?
a.He asks Nakata to kill him.
b.He asks Nakata to pray for him.
c.He asks Nakata to catch cats for him.
d.He asks Nakata to turn him in to the police.

26. What is Kafka planning to do on his fifteenth birthday?
a.Runaway from home
b.Go to Hokkaido
c.Visit his grandfather’s grave

27. What kind of life does Kafka lead?
a. lonely life
b. socially active
c. moderately social

28. Who is “the boy named Crow”?
a. A foreign exchange student
b. a long lost childhood friend
c. a part of Kafka’s mind

29. Summarize the content of the classified “Top Secret document”.
a. After an “odd event”, Kafka began talking to hallucinations of crows as well as flying cats.
b. After an “odd event” a pack of zoo animals apparently fled from their cages and now inhabit the last remaining woodlands of Japan
c. After an “odd event”  Kafka’s peers passed out for a couple of hours, only to regain conscience without remembering what had happened. One of the children did however not wake up.

30. What happens to Kafka on the bus?
a. He meets a girl who he talks to during the ride.
b. He is brutally bullied until being pushed out the bus window.
c. He trips and embarrasses himself in front of all his peers

31. Why was the boy Satoru Nakata an exception in the “accident”?
a. He did not wake up unlike the others.
b. He had a peculiar ability that allowed him to predict the oncoming danger.
c. He was the son of an ambassador thus saved before the rouge soldiers began hailing fire onto the crowds

32. What is Kafka’s idea of “karma”?
a. Some type of juice
b. A foreign religion
c. “What goes around comes around”

33. Where does Kafka decide to go after he has arrived in Takamatsu?
a. The local petting zoo
b. He goes to the library because he loves to read
c. His grandfather’s grave

34. What does Nakata reveal about himself that is surprising to the reader?
a. That he can talk to cats.
b. Himself….
c. That he has run away from home

35. What does the professor say about Nakata’s condition?
a. He’s terminally ill
b. Nakata possesses the power of “astral projection”
c. He can talk to dogs

36. What does he do after this discovery?
a. He calls his childhood friend, Sakura, to ask for help
b. Runs away from home.
c. Immediately goes to the local petting zoo and talks to kenneled pups

37. What information does Mimi get out of Kawamura?
a. That he’s a “closet Christian”
b. That Kawamura ran away from home
c. That the cat Nakata is looking for has been located at a nearby field

38. What does Sakura say when Kafka climbs into bed with her?
a. “I wish you I was your real sister”
b. “When we grow up, promise me you will be my husband.”
c. “Goodnight.”

39. What is revealed in the elementary school teacher’s letter?
a. The teacher is participating in an illicit affair with one of her older students
b. She is being fired for “reasons I cannot and will not disclose to children”
c. It is revealed that Nakata found the teacher’s “menstrual” blood, and she beat him senseless.

40. What does Oshima offer to do for Kafka?
a. He offers for Kafka to stay at his cottage.
b. He offers to help him do his homework.
c. He offers to help Kafka run away from home.

41. Who is Johnnie Walker?
a. Johnie Walker is a supposedly “powerful” man, and kills cats to collect their souls.
b. a serial killer
c. Kafka’s biological father

42. What does he want from Nakata?
a. He wants Nakata to talk to cats for him.
b. He wants Nakata to kill him.
c. He wants Nakata lunch sack

43. What does Kafka feel when he is alone in the cabin?
a. Scared
b. Relaxed
c. both

43. Why does Johnnie Walker kill cats?  
a. He collects their souls
b. He has a feline phobia
c. He’s a dog kind of guy

44. What does Oshima tell Kafka about Miss Saeki?
 a. She’s Kafka’s mother.
b. Miss Saeki is Johnie Walker’s wife
c. How she had a soul mate as boyfriend, but he died at an early age.

45. What is “Kafka on the Shore”?
a. Kafka on the Shore was a song she wrote for her long lost love.
b. A nursery rhyme.
c. Miss Saeki’s favorite bedtime story as a child.

46. How do the police react to Nakata’s murder confession?
a. They think it’s one big joke.
b. They cuff him on sight.
c. They ignore him.

47. What is revealed about Oshima in the incident between her and women visitors?
a. Oshima is a famous pop idol undercover
b. Oshima is a man
c. Oshima turns out to be both male and female

48. What happens to Nakata at the Fujigawa rest area?
a. He makes it rain slugs when he sees bullies beat up an innocent person.
b. Nakata runs away into the forest for no apparent reason.
c. Nakata abruptly passes out due to his “condition”

49. Why does Kafka think that he might be responsible for his father’s murder?
a. A trio of “ wicked women that looked like witches” foreshadowed such in a dream.
b. He had passed out one night where he blacked out and woke up with blood all over him the next day.

50. Who is Mr Hoshino?
a. A Truck Driver
b. Kafka’s father
c. An allegory for the “Christian god”

(Original Test)

  1. The first character to speak in Kafka on the Shore is the "boy named Crow". Who is he?
  2. "Kafka," we later learn, means "crow" in Czech. What relationship is Murakami trying to suggest between Franz Kafka, Kafka Tamura, the boy named Crow, and actual crows? At what significant moments do crows appear in the novel? What symbolic value do they have?
  3. When Kafka meets Sakura on the bus, they agree that "even chance meetings . . . are the results of karma" and that "things in life are fated by our previous lives. That even in the smallest events there's no such thing as coincidence". What role does fate, or meaningful coincidence, play in the novel? Is it karma that determines Kafka's destiny?
  4. Much of the novel alternates between Kafka's story and Nakata's. What effects does Murakami create by moving the reader back and forth between parallel narratives? What is the relationship between Nakata and Kafka?
  5. When Kafka is a young boy, his father tells him: "Someday you will murder your father and be with your mother", the same destiny as Oedipus. Kafka's father also tells him that he will sleep with his sister and that there is nothing he can do to prevent this prophecy from being fulfilled. How do Kafka's attempts to escape his fate bring him closer to fulfilling it?
  6. The phrase "for the time being" is repeated throughout Kafka on the Shore. Why has Murakami chosen to use this qualifying statement so often? How is the conventional concept of time stretched and challenged by events in the novel? Why does Miss Saeki tell Kafka: "Time's rules don't apply here. Time expands, then contracts, all in tune with the stirrings of the heart"?
  7. In what ways are the boundaries between past and present, dreaming and waking, fantasy and reality blurred and often erased in Kafka on the Shore?
  8. The teacher in charge of the children who lost consciousness in the woods during World War II writes to her professor many years later and tells him: "I find the worldview that runs through all of your publications very convincing—namely that as individuals each of us is extremely isolated, while at the same time we are all linked by a prototypical memory". How are the main characters of the novel—Kafka, Nakata, Oshima, Miss Saeki—"extremely isolated"? In what ways do they share a "prototypical memory"? What would that memory be?  
  9. Kafka Tamura seems, in some mysterious way, to be both Miss Saeki's son and the ghost of her long-dead lover. How does Murakami intend us to understand this shifting and apparently impossible dual identity?
  10. What is the relationship between Nakata's quest for the "entrance stone" and Kafka's journey into the forest?
  11. In what ways can Kafka on the Shore be read as a love story?
  12. The supernatural shape-shifter, who takes the form of Colonel Sanders, tells Hoshino that he is neither God nor Buddha but a kind of "overseer, supervising something to make sure it fulfills its original role. Checking the correlation between different worlds, making sure things are in the right order". What are these different worlds? Is Colonel Sanders talking about parallel universes?
  13. Kafka on the Shore is, for the most part, a realistic novel, yet it contains many magical elements—Nakata's ability to talk with cats and make fish fall from the sky, the shape-shifting Colonel Sanders, the middle-aged Miss Saeki visiting Kafka as her fifteen-year-old self. What is Murakami saying about the nature of reality and our beliefs about it through these seemingly impossible episodes?
  14. At the end of the novel, Oshima tells Kafka, "You've grown up". In what ways has Kafka been changed by his experience? What are the most important things he has learned? Why does he feel he has entered "a brand-new world"?
15.  What is Kafka planning to do on his fifteenth birthday?
16.  What kind of life does Kafka lead?
17.  Who is “the boy named Crow”? What does he tell Kafka about school?
18.  Summarize the content of the classified Top Secret document.
19.  What happens to Kafka on the bus?
20.  Why was the boy Satoru Nakata an exception in the case?
21.  What is “karma”?
22.  Where does Kafka decide to go after he has arrived in Takamatsu? Why?
23.  What does Nakata reveal about himself that is surprising to the reader?
24.  What does the professor say about Nakata’s condition?
25.  What does he do after this discovery?
26.  What information does Mimi get out of Kawamura?
27.  What does Sakura say when Kafka climbs into bed with her?
28.  Give a summary of the elementary school teacher’s letter to the professor. What is revealed?
29.  What does Oshima offer to do for Kafka?
30.  Who is Johnnie Walker, and what does he want from Nakata?
31.  What does Kafka feel when he is alone in the cabin?
32.  Why does Johnnie Walker kill cats?  
33.  What does Oshima tell Kafka about Miss Saeki? What is “Kafka on the Shore”?
34.  How do the police react to Nakata’s murder confession?
35.  Describe the incident between the women visitors and Oshima? What is revealed about Oshima?
36.  What happens to Nakata at the Fujigawa rest area?
37.  Why does Kafka think that he might be responsible for his father’s murder?
38.  Who is Mr Hoshino?
39.  What does Kafka see in the room at night? What “connection” does he make?
40.  For how long does Nakata sleep?
41.  What is Miss Saeki’s book about? How is this connected to Kafka’s father?
42.  How does Nakata describe the “entrance stone”? What is special about it?
43.  Who has been to the library to look for Kafka? Why does Oshima think it is not something to worry about? 
44.  Describe an instance of characterization within the novel. Identity as whether indirect/direct.
45.  What is the significance/symbol of crows within the novel?
46.  How would you describe the tone/mood of Murakami’s authorial style as illustrated in Kafka on the Shore?
47.  Would you consider Kafka as a static or dynamic character? Why/Why not? 
48.  What distinguishes Kafka on the Shore as a postmodernist piece? Example(s)?
49.  Is there an observable shift in syntax/style when Murakami transitions from exposition to characterization?
50.  In your opinion, what is the ultimate theme of Kafka on the Shore?

Practice Essay Prompts

Prose Essay Prompts
1. Many writers utilize symbols to communicate a theme(s). Write an essay in which you identify Haruki Murakami’s use of symbols within Kafka on the Shore to connote one of the novel’s ultimate, overall, theme(s).

2.   Write a rhetorical analysis analyzing Haruki Murakami’s use of rhetoric/prose (tone, syntax, structure etc.) in his novel Kafka on the Shore to further the author’s purpose and/or theme(s).  

3.    Throughout the novel the “primary character” Kafka struggles internally, these internal struggles by novel’s end characterizing the character. Write an essay wherein you identify Murakami’s use of shifting (or static) style/rhetoric/prose to characterize Kafka (or any supportable character within the novel). Try to support with examples of indirect/direct characterization.

Open Essay Prompts

1. Explain how the author develops a character through the use of relationships and encounters with others (include examples of direct and indirect characterizations if possible!)

2. Write an essay explaining how the use of telling a story from multiple perspectives furthers the readers understanding of the novel.

3. Kafka on the shore is a modern reselling of the play Oedipus the king. Write an essay in which you analyze similar themes.


 Lit. technique examples analyzed

1.      Symbolism-The boy named Crow. Crow represent a tough bird, resilient, and crafty. They can fly away from home and never come back. They can see things from above. All qualities Kafka wanted and thought he had.

2.      Bildungsroman-After running away from home for months, living nearly on his own, going through the forest and into limbo, meeting the love of his life and leaving her dead, Kafka realizes that he needs to go back home to face his demons and take care of his father's accident.

3.      Allusion-Kafka's father foretold that Kafka would kill his father and have sex with his mother, alluding to Oedipus Rex.

4.      Foreshadow: See above. The prophecy happened.

5.      Incongruity-Nakata and Hoshino are complete opposites. One cannot read and wishes he could and the other can read and chooses not to take advantage of the skill. Theycome from completely different backgrounds and paths of life but were put together for a really strange journey by fate.

6.      Interior monologue-Murakami gave Kafka an alter ego, "The boy named Crow", who acted as this conscience. He would give him inspiration when Kafka didn't know what to do and would tell him how to be the toughest fifteen-year-old in the world.

7.      Flashback- In the beginning of the story, Murakami dedcided to make a few chapters documents recorded during the war. They were from about sixty years prior to when the story took place and they described the accident that made Nakata dumb without directly telling us who the child who never recovered was.

8.      Denouement- The story had many separate "loose ends" tied up at the end; almost every character had one. Miss Saeki's body ended up dying along with her soul, Nakata died in his sleep because he had opened the entrance stone, Hoshino closed the entrance stone and his journey ended, and Kafka made it through the forest without looking back and realized he needed to comtinue living like Miss Saeki wanted.

9.      Direct characterization-Nearly every time a new character was introduced, they were directly characterized. Murakami liked to describe each character in detail to give the reader a vivid image of what the character looked like through the first person point of view. This was mostly seen in the chapters focussed on Kafka, because he was more observant of the people he met in comparison to Nakata who didn't seem to notice much detail. Kafka specifically would describe sexual feelings and body types of Miss Saeki and Sakura.

10.  Dialect- Nakata spoke in very short sentences because he "wasn't too bright" while Oshima and Kafka both spoke poetically. Hoshino spoke like a redneck because he was a trucker who was never into reading or schoolwork.

11.  Free verse- "Kafka on the Shore", the song Miss Saeki wrote as a young adult, was written out. The verses didn't rhyme or have a specific meter.

 12) Indirect Characterization: The Boy Named Crow in the first few pages is described not directly but through his verbal communication with Kafka. It shows that he has a deep refined persona and is good with words and has the ability to influence with only his words. But later on it is apparent that it is however some sort of Conscience to Kafka, or could be his alter ego because the name Kafka means Crow, or an imaginary friend. Thus making it magical realistic.

13) Magical Realism: Throughout the whole book magical Realism is identified. For example Ch. 10 Nakata has a complete dialogue with a cat. Basically Magical realism allows for the reader to interpret things with a suspension of disbelief and add more character to the story rather than including mundane detail. For example the following passage of Nakata having a conversation with the cat without magical realism, It would’ve just been Nakata talking with a cat to himself but with the use of magical realism the reader’s disbelief is suspended yielding to be more engaged with the story “I don’t mind at all, the tallest of heads.” “pardon me, But Nakata doesn’t understand what you’re saying Forgive me, but I’m not so Bright.”“It’s a tuna, to the very end.
“Are you perhaps saying you’d like to eat a tuna?”
“No. The hands tied up, before.” And the fact that Kafka talks with Crow who isn’t physically there that allows  for a different way of the protagonist to communicate his thoughts rather than just talking to himself, Kafka is talking to another entity allowing for a more engaging and more thematic  point in the story.
14) Bildungsroman:  means a coming of age or a realization. In The books center theme is around spiritual discovery of oneself and finding one’s place and reason why and connection.  
15) Point of View: Throughout the story the views change between two really different plot lines, between Nakata an old man finding cats and Kafka who is running away both running for different reasons but the two. The point of view is what allows the reader to interpret and follow what’s happening in the novel. As For Kafka Of the Shore it is confusing to keep track but after some time it is apparent that it alternates from Nakata to Kafka on the odd to even and chapters.
16) Symbolism: Symbolism allows for the reader to see the deeper meanings to the objects that the author writes. In Kafka on the Shore there may be some major symbolism to Kafka’s name and The Boy Named Crow.  In Japanese Shinto (Spiritualism) Crows have deep spiritual meaning, they signify divine intervention, which may explain why crow appears to try and help or appear when Kafka needs strength and gives him an edge, maybe and angel rather than an alter ego. Cats also have some symbolism to them in Japanese culture as Nakata had suffered from a massive accident in his youth it gave him very weird abilities to talk with cats, which symbolizes good luck it’s a bit ironic that The Luckiest guy in the book talks with a lucky animal.
17) Personification: Personification gives objects a certain human characteristic, and is a characterized under Magical Realism, therefore the talking Cats that Nakata has throughout the book is a form of Personification.
18) Imagery: Imagery gives the reader something that regular writing with mundane detail cannot accomplish. For example “Sometimes Fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction 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?” Instead of saying Your Problems Murakami decides to compare your problems to that of a sandstorm which yields more depth than just straight up saying your problems.
19) Hyperbole: Hyperboles are very apparent within Magical Realistic Books thereforeNakata and Kafka’s ventures into the spiritual realm could be just ordinary occurrences seen through the eyes of an exhausted child, and a deranged man.
20) Foreshadowing: When and author gives subtle clues that have more influence to the story it is Foreshadowing. For example in Ch. 4 It has no dialogue between Nakata or anyone else. but is a whole Dialogue of an interview held with military person who had witnessed several kids being unconscious during an attack in WWII which caused Nakata to fall unconscious for weeks and in the end hindering his mental faculties, which literally foreshadows his ability to talk with cats
21) Diction: When Diction is used correctly it can be used to determine a character’s mental capabilities and author’s purpose. For example, each of the chapters in the novel, switch off from Kafka to Nakata, and in each of the chapters the diction and syntax is very much changed from each one. Nakata’s is more slow and childlike, while Kafka’s is more coherent and lucid.



  1. Good thing Dylan kept up on his side of the lit techniques...