Mapping "Kafka on the Shore"

Haruki Murakami’s novel, Kafka on the Shore, follows the journeys of two individuals; an old man named Nakata, and a 15-year-old runaway who goes by the name “Kafka”. The two characters travel from their hometown of Nakano Ward in Tokyo, Japan to a city called Takamatsu on one of Japan’s smaller islands, Shikoku. While the two characters do travel along real routes and visit real locations in Japan, Kafka on the Shore is as much a metaphysical journey as it is a physical one. The respective journeys of the novel’s two main characters reflect these two aspects.

4000 years around the world and one night in London

I mapped the first 9 to 10 chapters of The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud. This is a fantasy novel set in quasi-modern-day London ruled by magicians. The narrator is Bartimaeus, a djinni (a type of spirit) summoned by one of these magicians' apprentices and charged with stealing the titular artifact: the legendary "Amulet of Samarkand". 

Bartimaeus claims to be over 4000 years old, and he refers often throughout the book to his adventures in various periods throughout ancient history. I have mapped these long-ago locations he mentions in the first 10 chapters, as well as the places in London he visits on his first night in London after being summoned in the present day.

The locations clustered around London itself are those between which he flees between during the night while carrying the valuable amulet he has been forced to steal by his master.


The really interesting thing about this map for me was that, when I went to try and connect the routes, I found I couldn't see exactly how Bartimaeus traveled. This is because he was going over buildings and "as the crow flies", but always with a fictional or unspecified intermediary place in between mentioned famous landmarks. As such, it isn't possible to plot his route.

Walking Araby

After basically giving up on trying to pinpoint the exact location of the Araby market, I decided that it would be interesting to get a first-hand experience of the boy's journey in the story. Using street view in Google Maps, I decided to walk the route from North Richmond St, turned onto N Circular Rd, onto Summerhill Parade, and finally onto Buckingham St. I know that my experience is a century removed from the boy's walk, but I was still struck by the streets of Dublin.

The first thing that surprised me is that the building in this neighborhood, even in modern times, are very small. Nothing is over 2 or 3 stories. I am used to big cities having tall buildings and narrow streets. Dublin, on the other hand, has short buildings and the streets are quite average-sized. However, the streets still felt incredibly claustrophobic. There are so many buildings packed together on a single street that you feel almost always like you are walking down an alley or corridor. The other surprising thing was the maze of streets you walk through. I am used to the grid system layout of Tulsa; it is simple and logical. Dublin is one jumbled mess. It is a labrynth. It seems like every hundred feet some side street branched off into another corridor. I felt trapped. It made me think how Joyce must have felt walking through these streets, using them even as inspiration for his works. There must have been such a unique atmosphere (especially back then when I'm sure the conditions of the streets were much, much worse). The streets of Dublin seem to be characters in and of themselves in Joyce's works, and I can certainly see why that is.

Mapping Visual Themes in Araby

My map seeks to trace the theme of visual obsession between the boy and Mangan's sister in the storyline of "Araby." The map provides the physical locations for each time the boy references Mangan's sister in a visually romantic way. At each marker on the walking map I inserted the quote that carried this visual theme. 

In my second lab working with the map, I finished marking the locations in which the narrator visually interacts or thinks about Mangan's sister. I also added a picture to each marker of the location, but now in thinking about it more, I wish that I had also put in pictures that helped more with the visual theme that I'm tracking rather than just images of each of the locations. If I was going to work further on this, I think it would be interesting to attach pictures like that of a girl on the steps or of a market scene. 


Araby Neighborhood Map

One thing I noticed while I was in Dublin this summer is that everything is incredibly compact--it really doesn't cover that large of an area. If this was the state of the city in 2014, I bet it was even more compact in Joyce's time. The neighborhood in Araby is no different from the rest of the city. Many of the main buildings that would have been important to families living on North Richmond Street were very short distances away from their homes. Though Joyce never explicity mentions a church in Araby it's a fair assumption that the people mentioned are practicing Catholics. After looking around on Google Maps for a bit, it seems likely that they would have been in the parish of St. Agatha. It's only 0.3 miles from the Araby house, and construction was completed on the church in 1908, making it a viable church for the people in the story. The same goes for St. Vincent's Girls School, the school probably attended by Mangan's sister. Since the boy goes to a school that is specifically for boys, I assumed that there had to be a Catholic girls school nearby. St. Vincent's is, approximately 0.25 miles from the Araby House. Adding further credence to my guess is the fact that a convent is attached to St. Vincent's, and Mangan's sister specifically mentions that she has a retreat at her convent during the weekend of Araby.

Between school, church, and playing in the streets, the children in Araby probably did not spend much time more than a half mile from their homes. This makes the boy's venture to the bazaar all the more notable. It is over 3 miles from his house--a true quest for someone who rarely gets more than a mile from home. 

The Waste Land in Context: Mapping Location in The Dial

I began mapping locations that are mentioned or alluded to within the November 1922 issue of The Dial, in which The Waste Land was initially published. I did not finish mapping the issue; I only completed the mapping for about half of the issue -- through Section I of Elie Faure's "Reflections on the Greek Genius." 

Although I did not finish, the pattern that emerged from my map was interesting. I did not encounter any references to places in England or the United States. I mapped two locations in South and Central America (Peru and the Valley of Mexico), but the majority of the locations were spread throughout Germany, Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. I would need to finish mapping locations throughout this issue of The to be certain, but this pattern of location seems to reflect the internationalist discourse that can be found throughout the issue, specifically in the advertisements.


View The Waste Land in Context: Location in The Dial in a larger map

Mapping Locations in The Waste Land: The Fire Sermon

View Map of Locations in III. The Fire Sermon in a larger map

I was relatively unfamiliar with the geographical locations referenced throughout The Waste Land, so I decided to map all locations directly referred to in the third section in order to get a better idea of where these placeswere and what sort of area they occupied. I began by searching for each term in the search bar. However, many times I did not find what I was looking for right away, and so I searched the internet for more information about what exactly the poem was referring to and what modern place might exist instead of or approximate the location Eliot referenced. I color-coded the pinpoints based on how many times they were referenced in the stanza (most of them only once). 


View Map of Locations in III. The Fire Sermon in a larger map

This exercise proved to be very enlightening. I noted that most of the locations referenced gathered around a tight circle in the center of London, and there was a much looser rectangle around Greece and Turkey due to the references to the ancient world. This configuration made London take on a unique importance in the map, almost as if it were the origin of all the points, which then exploded in a tumultuous spray outwards from this narrow cluster. I drew shapes around each to indicate their clustering.


View Map of Locations in III. The Fire Sermon in a larger map

Mapping is definitely a tool I want to revisit in the future. I imagine it woud be extremely useful and illuminating when practiced on a work which has a familiar location, but I found it helpful simply for adding a bit of context and clarity to the mood and tone of the allusions to each location. 

Mapping "A Game of Chess"

For my map of The Waste Land, I chose to locate the locations of places alluded to and the settings of "A Game of Chess."  The map that I have created (below) uses blue pins for specific places alluded to and red pins for physical settings of this section.  The yellow pins are meant to represent potential sites of the Garden of Eden, which Eliot refers to in lines 97-8.  The lines connecting the pins trace the linear order through which the allusions travel amongst the pins.

View "A Game of Chess" in a larger map

The most salient insight that arises from the map of "A Game of Chess" is the disparity between the geographic variation of Eliot's references to the Ancients up to Milton and Shakespeare and the rather localized latter sections that are much more locally focused.  Taken in consideration with the temporal motion of this section, which is directly linear from the ancient to modernity, this differentiation could be read as both a comment on post-WWI sentiment and Eliot's larger project in The Waste Land.  The highly localized nature of the modern section of "A Game of Chess" in comparison to the geographically expansive section of antiquity could speak to a sentiment undermining the pervasive nature of nationalism in Europe leading up to and throughout World War I.  While there certainly was nationalist (or at least regionalist) allegiances in the ancient world, these allegiances never led to warfare on the scale of WWI - they never created The Waste Land.  The isolation of modern locals could be read as Eliot dissenting against nationalism.  Another reading of the map could focus on the distinct geographic separation between the past and present in this section of The Waste Land.  As we discussed in class, Eliot's continual allusions represent a formal embodiment of his project to create a new mythology, a new origin story from those of previous generations.  The distinct geographic border (nearly half of Western Europe) between the two geographic groupings could speak to this differentiation that Eliot is seeking to do away with in The Waste Land