Klara and the Sun

by Kazuo Ishiguro

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Part Three Summary and Analysis

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Klara is dismayed to find that the tension caused by the trip to Morgan's Falls lasts for several days thereafter, and both the Mother and Josie behave somewhat coldly to her around the house. Contemplating their behavior, she starts to understand that humans are willing to work much harder than she'd realized to avoid loneliness.

Several days after the trip, Josie's health takes an alarming downturn, and the family home is thrust into turmoil. Recalling the miraculous instance in which the Sun used his special nourishment to cure the beggar across the street from the department store, Klara soon comes to believe that the Sun alone holds the power to restore Josie's health. As the doctor comes and goes from the Arthur home and Josie shows no signs of recovery, Klara develops a plan to ask the Sun directly for assistance.

Rick visits while Josie is bedridden, and the two start playing "the bubble game." Josie draws pictures of people talking to each other with cartoon speech bubbles, and Rick fills in the dialogue. At first, the game brings them both joy. Eventually, though, it takes an emotional turn—between bouts of illness, the Mother has been taking Josie to an artist in the city to have a portrait done. Rick repeatedly tells Josie that he thinks something about the artist sounds creepy. Soon, the tension between the two starts manifesting in the words and pictures exchanged in the game.

One day, the tension escalates into an especially acrimonious fight about how Rick is "unlifted." Most colleges no longer accept unlifted students, but Josie insists that Rick apply to Atlas Brookings, a rare exception. The argument escalates, and Rick stops visiting.

Some time later, Josie draws a picture and seals it in an envelope. Volunteering to take it to Rick's house, Klara sets out alone. Rick welcomes her inside, and Klara sees that unlike the Arthur home, his house is dirty and chaotic. From Rick's apologies, she ascertains that his mother isn't well, although the illness is left unnamed. Rick opens the envelope and is touched to see a drawing of him and Josie holding hands.

Telling Rick that she has a plan to help Josie, Klara asks him to help her reach Mr. McBain's barn. As the two discuss it, they're interrupted by Miss Helen, Rick's mother. She asks Klara if she might be willing to help Rick study for admission to Atlas Brookings, as an embarrassed Rick attempts to deflect. Miss Helen moves on and starts telling Klara about an unsettling vision she once had of the Mother coming out of the field holding an unfamiliar child.

An uncomfortable Rick reminds Klara that Josie may be waiting for her. Soon, he becomes frustrated and leaves the room. Miss Helen again asks if Klara and Josie will try to convince Rick to apply to Atlas Brookings, and Klara agrees.

Klara sets out toward McBain's barn with just enough time to reach it before the sun sets, but she soon realizes the trip is more precarious than she thought. She finds herself sinking into the mud in some areas, unable to see over the tall grass and triangulate her location. Just in time, Rick emerges from the grass and carries her on his back the rest of the way.

At the barn, Rick excuses himself so that Klara may have a moment alone with the Sun. As the setting Sun's rays begin to create patterns on the surfaces inside the barn, Klara sees her opportunity and begins to propose a bargain: if she can destroy the Cootings Machine, which so threatens...

(This entire section contains 953 words.)

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the Sun with pollution and clouds, will he help Josie? The Sun sets and Klara leaves, certain that the fair and benevolent Sun must have agreed to her terms.

The next day, Rick visits Josie again, and the two reconcile. Meanwhile, Klara begins to fixate on how to destroy the Cootings Machine, but she is distracted when the Mother invites her along to Josie's next portrait appointment. Rick and Miss Helen will join them on the trip to the city, she tells Klara—Miss Helen has a connection at Atlas Brookings, and they're going to pay him a visit.

Analysis

Part three reveals some unsettling details about the society Klara and the Arthurs occupy, illuminating some of the earlier foreshadowing that took place at the interaction meeting.

Though Rick and Josie exhibit some tension that could be considered typical of teenage romance, there's something more insidious underneath the surface. Josie, as a lifted teen, retains a certain societal privilege that Rick does not. Health permitting, she can be assumed to have opportunities in front of her. Rick, by contrast, who is very bright but unlifted, is considered ineligible for most college education by default. As they debate their future, this difference in social status looms as a serious obstacle between them.

This contrast between their social statuses is harshly mirrored by the contrast between their economic ones. Josie lives in a well-appointed home, and the Mother has a good job. The two have a housekeeper and are comfortable enough to also afford an AF to keep Josie company. Though Josie is constantly sick, at no point does the cost of her care become an obstacle.

When Klara goes to Rick's house, she sees that Rick and his mother don't enjoy the same privileges. The house is shabby and cluttered, and Rick appears to struggle to keep the place together on his own. He mentions that his mother, Miss Helen, is unwell, and the implication is that Rick is the one taking care of them both—if there's help Miss Helen might benefit from, it's certainly not within their resources to seek it.

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Part Four Summary and Analysis