Klara And The Sun: Love Is A Weapon Against Death, And Robotic Love Is A Tragedy

The sun always has a way of shining on us, no matter where we are.

Book Name: Klara and the Sun

Author: Kazuo Ishiguro

Clara is a solar-powered artificial intelligence robot (AF) designed to accompany children, with high observation, reasoning, and empathy skills. She sits in a store display window, watching every move of passersby on the street and the children who come to browse the window. She always expects that someone will soon pick her, but when the possibility of a permanent change in her situation arises, Clara is reminded not to trust too much in the promises of mankind.

In Clara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at the ever-changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator and explores a fundamental question: What exactly is love?

Book Review:
The three keywords of Kazuo Ishiguro’s works: time, memory, and self-deception. His works are all tragic in nature. The “unreliable narrator” is one of the common and key elements.

Kazuo Ishiguro’s subtlety lies in the fact that the narrator is not unreliable from one moment to the next. Usually, the narrator himself does not raise much suspicion in the first half, but rather the story itself has some contradictions and oddities/absurdities. It is only in the second half of the story that the narrator gradually reveals his “unreliability”, when the contradictions and absurdities in the previous narrative come to the fore, and become a vagueness that requires the reader to look back and savor the implausibility. This technique
Kazuo Ishiguro has already mastered this technique in his debut novel, A Pale View of the Hills.

Look at “Clara and the Sun” in the light of these premises. The narrator is obviously Clara, and Clara’s narrative originates from her memories of sitting in a junkyard after being abandoned. She falls in love with Josie at first sight in the store and waits patiently for Josie to keep her promise to take her home. Josie comes as promised, and in the course of her companionship with Josie she learns about the world around her and Josie’s illness, praying to the sun to heal Josie and giving herself to do so.

Finally, Josie is cured and grows up healthy, Clara also finished her life like a robot and was discarded in a landfill.

From the last chapter sitting in the landfill, narrative can be seen, at this time Clara is close to scrapping, memory and physical ability are very problematic, so would have been an unreliable narrator. On top of that, there was an obvious node in her reliability: she contributed the solution from her own brain to destroy that Coutins machine. The Clara before she gave the solution was observant and clear-minded, and the plot of “doing the questionnaire and quickly understanding the true purpose of the questionnaire” is very much in line with the setting of an intelligent AI. After giving the solution, Clara is panic-stricken and confused, not even recognizing who is walking towards her on the street (the original text repeatedly uses “disoriented” to describe her state). The author has shrewdly made the writing confusing, which on the one hand gives the reader an immersive experience and forces the reader to experience Clara’s confused state, and on the other hand, conveniently hides some important clues in the confusing narrative.

Let’s look directly at the biggest implausible/absurd/fairy tale of the book: the sun heals Josie.

Clara’s worship of the sun is understandable. AF, although an intelligent robot, is not a supercomputer kind of AI, but is likely set up with the same cognition as children to facilitate being friends with small children. This is exemplified by the fact that Clara does not recognize the Kutins machine and most stores and can only be named by the machine or the words printed on the sign. This is very much in line with the behavior of small children. So Clara knows that the sun is the source of her energy, but she does not know what solar energy is in her perception, so it is natural to worship the sun. Worship is worship, the story is set in the sun on the human or no healing effect, even Josie such as “elevated” human. (Otherwise, Josie should have been cured)

So, what happened before and after the sun “cured” Josie? In chronological order:

1. Josie’s mother has been secretly looking for someone to be Josie’s AF replacement

Clara went to the barn and prayed to the sun one last time. By this time Clara was very confused and on the verge of being scrapped. She kept seeing things in the barn that would not appear in the barn: her own past store, the housekeeper’s juicer, the book Josie was reading a few weeks ago. The appearance of these things is implausible, and a more plausible explanation is that by this time Clara is so damaged that she begins to experience visual and memory confusion.

3. The morning Josie heals, Josie’s mother is wearing the black dress skirt she wore the night before. Josie’s mother was inexplicably angry with Rick, but Rick was not angry at all and instead told her what Josie had said privately about how much she loved her and would never blame her.

This is a very important clue. There are not a few observations of human clothing written throughout the book, and they are written with a clear purpose in mind, usually to side-step the person’s identity. The mother’s anger at Rick’s paragraph is very inexplicable, saying “you are satisfied, you are proud of it” such hurtful words, but Rick is not angry at all, but very understanding mother. 4.

4. Josie sunbathed for a while, healed and revived

Healing this narrative is very dramatic, it feels like the wall-e finally sunshine to write the camera.

5. After Josie healed, and Rick drifted apart, the two plans are no longer mentioned (why, the two as precious plans, after the robbery should not be more cherished?) Josie’s father comes to fight with his mother and the two of them are separated (why, when the child is cured, what else is there to fight about?)

6. Josie went to college and neither Rick nor her father came to see her off

The night before the “healing”, Josie died (probably in the hospital), so the mother, in her funeral clothes the next morning, threw her grief on Rick. turned on. The father never agreed with the plan to turn his daughter into a robot, so he came back to stop AF Josie after she came online, unsuccessfully. Rick was also never able to fall in love with this robot Josie, so he had to say goodbye to both. In the original article, Rick and Clara said goodbye “I know I’ll always keep searching for someone just like her, at least like the Josie I once knew”

AF Josie is probably a copy of Clara, using Clara’s kernel to run Josie’s model. But the real Clara made a choice (sic “I’m glad I decided as I did”): give the solution, there is a certain possibility that you can save Josie, but you will probably also be broken on the spot; do not give the solution, if Josie died she can replace her, loved by her father and mother. As you can see in the last chapter, Clara’s choice is not only because of her love for Josie, but also because she sees that her father and mother will not love her as much as they love Josie, and even if she replaces Josie, she will not get the same love, so she would rather give herself. Her dedication is tragic, but her lack of dedication is likely to be just as tragic because, in the end, humans still see AF as a vacuum cleaner-like existence, a toy, and a machine that can be discarded.

There is another fine detail to think about: why can destroy the motherboard of Coutins’ machine, which happens to be the solution in Clara’s brain? If this solution can easily destroy electronic components, equipped in the AF brain is not very anti-conventional? Clara herself suspected that perhaps the so-called destruction of Coutins was simply made up by her father and that the real purpose was to break Clara to stop the AF Joshi project, which he had been so strongly opposed to? When destroying the Coutins machine, my father kept saying, “You’ve given me hope again.

Clara and the Sun” is similar to “The Shadow of Faraway Mountains” in terms of writing style, especially in the last sentence, which is a light sentence that suggests a new story possibility. In “The Shadow of Faraway Mountain,” it’s “Keiko was so happy that day that we rode the cable car.” In Clara, it is “with each step, she would lean to her left”. Clara’s words instantly turned the manager into Josie, and completely put a question mark on her reliability.

This reading may be pessimistic, but the undercurrent of Kazuo Ishiguro’s work has always been a tragedy. I don’t think Kazuo Ishiguro would be content to write a fairy tale for adults that explores “what love is” in a superficial way.

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