Klara and the Sun

by Kazuo Ishiguro

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Part Five Summary and Analysis

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As Josie's health begins to wane again, the Mother and Klara become increasingly worried. Desperate to aid in her recovery, Klara asks Rick to help her reach McBain's barn a second time. Apologizing for potentially "stealing privacy," Klara asks Rick something else: if the love between him and Josie is real. If it is, Klara explains, she may be able to use it to bargain with the Sun. Without hesitation, Rick insists that his and Josie’s love is real before taking Klara back to the barn.

Realizing this may be her final chance to secure the help Josie needs, Klara musters her strength as the Sun begins to set. As the oblique rays begin to shine into the barn, she apologizes for her failure to subvert the Cootings Machine and begs that the Sun recognize her sacrifice anyway. She'd have willingly given more, even all of it, she says, if it meant it would help Josie.

As the Sun begins to fade, Klara implores him to recognize the power and potential of the love between Josie and Rick. As she begs, the Sun's reflection begins to flash brightly back at her from a stack of glass windowpanes leaning against the wall. Speaking directly to the reflection and realizing its brightness actually belies stacked layers of reflections, each with a different temperament, she begs the Sun one last time: "Please show your special kindness to Josie."

In the following days, Josie's situation begins to feel hopeless. The visiting doctor and the Mother debate about whether she should be in the hospital but eventually conclude that moving her would probably make her even more miserable. The Mother, Rick, and Melania Housekeeper begin to sleep in shifts, taking turns so that one of the three is always monitoring Josie as she rests.

When the sky becomes mysteriously dark one morning, Klara finds herself disoriented—the family's schedule has become so inconsistent that it's no longer clear whether it's day or night. That morning, the Mother and Rick have an especially difficult conversation that suits the day's foreboding atmosphere: if Josie's illness comes as a result of being lifted by genetic editing, does Rick feel like he "won" by never having been put at risk in the same way?

Responding with fiery intensity, Rick tells the Mother what he knows to be true: that Josie, hungry for possibility, would not have wanted the Mother to make any other choice, and she's explicitly told him as much. Klara, interrupting, demands both of their attention: the Sun has just come out, and they need to go see Josie right away.

Unsure what Klara means by this, the Mother runs upstairs anyway. Rick and Klara are close behind, and the three find the Sun's rays peeking in through the edges of the room's heavy blinds. Klara throws them open, and light pours into the room with so much power that Klara is nearly thrown off balance.

The rays fall on Josie's bed, and Josie soon begins to stir. Finally, she sits upright, showing renewed strength. She feels a little dizzy, she reports, but she also feels better.

Analysis

In part five, it becomes apparent that Klara's emotional relationship to the Sun as her religious deity is as nuanced and emotionally complex as a human's relationship to spirituality. Having attempted to subvert the first Cootings Machine only to have her hopes dashed by the appearance of another, her second appeal toward the Sun involves a wide variety of contradicting emotions.

Klara feels grief and shame at not having fulfilled her earlier bargain, embarrassment at not having realized there might...

(This entire section contains 750 words.)

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be more than one machine, desperation and worry over her friend's health, certainty in the power of the Sun's grace, confidence that the love between Rick and Josie is strong enough to sway the Sun's opinion, hope that he may listen, and gratitude for his time. Each of these feelings represents emotional growth on its own, but for Klara to have developed the capacity to harbor each emotion simultaneously is an even greater accomplishment.

When Josie makes her miraculous recovery in the Sun's bountiful rays, the author leaves the cause of her recovery deliberately uncertain. Just like in part four, where the reader is left to question whether an artificial consciousness might one day be commensurate with a human one, no concrete answer is given—did the personified Sun, as Klara asked, bestow his special nourishment on Josie, or did Josie happen to recover on a sunny morning?

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Part Six Summary and Analysis