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In "A Family Supper," does the family eating fish in the story have any significant...

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reznihal | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 24, 2010 at 3:19 AM via web

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In "A Family Supper," does the family eating fish in the story have any significant meaning?

In the beginning the narrator explains how his mother died of eating fish because it was not prepared right. The dad loses his wife then his business and both of his children do not plan on staying in Tokyo. He was always a busy man but now with all this spare time he may have come to the conclusion that he is going to be alone. He then prepares fish and when the narrator asks what kind the father just replies "just fish". He may have prepared Fugu and did it wrong to kill him and his family just like his business partner did. The father also describes his business partner as a man of principle sort of justifying his partner's actions. Also, the family is tied into Japanese tradition which one failure is not an option.

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 24, 2010 at 5:10 AM (Answer #1)

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The fish, particularly the fact that it is "just fish", has a lot of significance. It brings the present, the past, and the future together at the table, and in a way is finally bringing what is left of the family together again.

Since the mother died by eating Fugu, the family basically fell apart and the entity of the massacre that the father's business partner committed was also in the back of their minds. Yet, after they left Tokyo, they could bury some of the bad memories, and go on in some way or form.

Now that they are finally together, they are facing each other's weaknesses, fears, pains, and the mourning of the mother. In the same toke, the father is finally embracing the possibility of having his son near- but at this point the young-man has lost a lot of his Japanese upbringing, and is not ready to start over with life the way he was raised.

Hence, eating the fish represents bringing back the past, the Japanese tradition, facing the past fears in the present, get together one last time to figure out the future.

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