Klara and the Sun

by

Kazuo Ishiguro

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The Mother Character Analysis

Josie’s mom is called Chris (or Chrissie) by fellow humans, but she is always referred to by Klara as “the Mother.” Throughout the story, the Mother’s main goal is to provide the best possible life for Josie, but she often has disagreements with other characters like the Father, Melania Housekeeper, Rick, and even Josie herself about what is best for Josie. The Mother has been divorced for several years, and it is later revealed that she had another daughter named Sal who died at a young age of disease. This makes it particularly hard for the Mother to witness Josie’s illness, especially since it was her choice to have Josie “lifted” (a process that prepares children for college but that apparently caused Josie’s disease. In order to cope with the potential of losing Josie, the Mother takes Josie to Mr. Capaldi, telling Josie that Mr. Capaldi is making a “portrait,” when in fact he’s making an Artificial Friend in Josie’s exact likeness. The plan is that if Josie dies, Klara will take over the consciousness of the Josie-like Artificial Friend and “continue” Josie, although at times the Mother is doubtful this plan will work. In the end, however, Josie survives, and the plan never takes effect. The Mother represents the difficulties of parenting, showing how challenging it can be to decide what’s best for a child.

The Mother Quotes in Klara and the Sun

The Klara and the Sun quotes below are all either spoken by The Mother or refer to The Mother. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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).
Part One Quotes

“Well, Klara. Since you appear to know so much about it. Will you please reproduce for me Josie’s walk? Will you do that for me? Right now? My daughter’s walk?”

Related Characters: The Mother (speaker), Klara, Josie, Manager
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:
Part Two Quotes

The kitchen was especially difficult to navigate because so many of its elements would change their relationships to one another moment by moment. I now appreciated how in the store—surely out of consideration for us—Manager had carefully kept all the items, even smaller ones like the bracelets or the silver earrings box, in their correct places.

Related Characters: Klara (speaker), Manager, Rosa, Rex, Josie, The Mother, Melania Housekeeper
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:

“I suppose they have a point though,” he said. “I don’t belong here. This is a meeting for lifted kids.”

Related Characters: Rick (speaker), Klara, Josie, The Mother
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:

“Okay, Josie. So tell me how you’ll get well.”

“There’s special help coming. Something no one’s thought of yet. Then I’ll be well again.”

Related Characters: The Mother (speaker), Klara (speaker), Josie
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:
Part Three Quotes

“These folks surrounding her. Am I to assume they’re aliens? It almost looks like instead of a head, they have, well, a giant eyeball. I’m sorry if I have this all wrong.”

Related Characters: Rick (speaker), Josie, Klara, The Mother, Mr. Capaldi
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:

“What I really wished to ask you, Klara. The real request, the deeper one. Would you ask Josie to try and persuade Rick? She’s the one person who might change his stance. He’s very stubborn, you see, and also—I suspect this—rather afraid. And who can blame him? He knows the world out there won’t be easy. But Josie’s the one capable of getting him to see this differently. Will you speak to her?”

Related Characters: Miss Helen (speaker), Klara, Rick, Josie, The Mother
Page Number: 151
Explanation and Analysis:

“Don’t want to die, Mom. I don’t want that.”

“It’s okay. Okay.” The Mother’s voice was soft, at just the same level mine had been.

“I don’t want that, Mom.”

“I know. I know. It’s okay.”

Related Characters: Josie (speaker), The Mother (speaker), Klara
Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:
Part Four Quotes

He clearly wished to greet Josie with an embrace, and looked around for somewhere to put down the paper bag, but Josie stepped forward and put her arms around him, paper bag and all. As he received her embrace, his gaze wandered around the room and fell on me. Then he looked away and closed his eyes, letting his cheek rest against the top of her head. They stayed like that for a time, keeping very still, not even rocking slowly the way the Mother and Josie did sometimes during their morning farewells.

Related Characters: Klara (speaker), The Father, Josie, The Mother
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:

I turned the corner of the L and saw Josie there, suspended in the air. She wasn’t very high—her feet were at the height of my shoulders—but because she was leaning forward, arms outstretched, fingers spread, she seemed to be frozen in the act of falling. Little beams illuminated her from various angles, forbidding her any refuge. Her face was very like that of the real Josie, but because there was at the eyes no kind smile, the upward curve of her lips gave her an expression I’d never seen before. The face looked disappointed and afraid.

Related Characters: Klara (speaker), Josie, Mr. Capaldi, The Father, The Mother
Page Number: 201
Explanation and Analysis:
Part Five Quotes

“And there was more. On this question of being lifted. She wants you to know she wouldn’t wish it any other way. If she had the power to do it again, and this time it was up to her, she says she’d do exactly what you did and you’ll always be the best mother she could have.”

Related Characters: Rick (speaker), The Mother, Josie, Klara, Miss Helen, Vance
Page Number: 277
Explanation and Analysis:

The Sun was illuminating her, and the entire bed, in a ferocious half-disc of orange, and the Mother, standing closest to the bed, was having to raise her hands to her face.

Related Characters: Klara (speaker), Josie, The Mother, Melania Housekeeper, Rick
Page Number: 279
Explanation and Analysis:
Part Six Quotes

“Klara deserves better. She deserves her slow fade.”

Related Characters: The Mother (speaker), Klara, Mr. Capaldi, Josie
Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Klara and the Sun LitChart as a printable PDF.
Klara and the Sun PDF

The Mother Character Timeline in Klara and the Sun

The timeline below shows where the character The Mother appears in Klara and the Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part One
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...Klara and Rosa’s second week in the window, Josie comes back with her mom (the Mother). Josie apologizes for being gone so long. The Mother watches Klara carefully from a distance—Josie... (full context)
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...she can still hear things, and one day she hears Josie coming back with the Mother. Klara hears Josie tell the Mother about how this is the right store but the... (full context)
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...Josie explains that she would’ve come back sooner, but she got sick. Manager assures the Mother that, while Klara isn’t a B3, her model still has a very good reputation. (full context)
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The Mother is intrigued when Manager mentions that Klara is very observant. The Mother asks Klara questions... (full context)
Part Two
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...Klara eventually learns the routines of the people in her house, such as how the Mother takes a quick coffee every morning at the island in the kitchen. (full context)
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Some mornings, the Mother doesn’t have to hurry with coffee. One day, she talks with Josie about the pictures... (full context)
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...From there, Klara and Josie like to watch the Sun set while waiting for the Mother to come home. Once, when the Mother comes home early, Josie even interrupts the conversation... (full context)
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That evening at dinner, Josie and the Mother discuss Josie’s upcoming “interaction meeting.” Even though Josie gets good grades, she still has to... (full context)
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Josie asks if Rick can come, and the Mother agrees after some hesitation. Josie asks if the Mother thinks it’s a bad idea for... (full context)
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...The adults are polite, but Klara notices that they’re cautious when speaking to Rick. The Mother tells Josie to go host her guests (the other children), so Josie takes Rick into... (full context)
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...ahead,” and this causes an awkward moment that leads to the parent apologizing to the Mother. The Mother just asks everyone to drop the subject. (full context)
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The parents talk about Josie’s health, and the Mother says she has good days and bad days. The Mother soon changes the subject and... (full context)
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The Mother tells Klara that she should go in to be with Josie and the children, so... (full context)
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Three weeks after the interaction meeting, Klara notices a change in Josie’s health. The Mother tells her she must get well so that they can go on a trip to... (full context)
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The Mother warns Klara in advance of the Morgan’s Falls trip that Josie sometimes gets overexcited, and... (full context)
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In the car, the Mother suddenly accuses Josie of hiding how sick and weary she feels. She wants to call... (full context)
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The Mother drives in silence with Klara for a while before talking about Josie. The Mother wishes... (full context)
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The Mother parks the car, and she and Klara begin to walk up to Morgan’s Falls. They... (full context)
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The Mother asks Klara if she’s still able to mimic Josie’s walk. She doesn’t ask Klara to... (full context)
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On the ride back, the Mother says she enjoyed the trip, and suggests perhaps they can do it again, if Josie... (full context)
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When the Mother and Klara get back, Josie is drawing intensely. Klara thinks that Josie seems mad at... (full context)
Part Three
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...after the Morgan’s Falls trip, Josie is cold toward Klara. Klara is surprised that the Mother also seems distant, since it seemed like the trip went well. (full context)
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Josie becomes weaker, and now instead of going down to the kitchen for breakfast, the Mother has coffee in Josie’s bedroom. Melania Housekeeper is bothered by Klara’s hovering around, so she... (full context)
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...anything. He takes lots of pictures of her different body parts. Josie counters that the Mother is always there, and she wouldn’t just hire a pervert. (full context)
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...Klara a story about how one time she looked out the window and saw the Mother (whom she calls Chrissie) with a child who wasn’t Josie. Rick suggests maybe his mother... (full context)
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...about destroying the Cootings Machine. She doesn’t want to tell anyone about her plan, but—conveniently—the Mother tells Klara that they’ll soon be taking a trip into the city. They are all... (full context)
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Two days later, Klara is a little surprised when Melania Housekeeper tells Klara that the Mother won’t allow her (Melania) to come to the city with them, so it’s Klara’s duty... (full context)
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...in the middle of the night. Josie says she isn’t in pain but needs the Mother at once. Klara says that as an AF, she can do whatever Josie needs, but... (full context)
Part Four
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Josie, Klara, and the Mother go to Mr. Capaldi’s studio. The Mother is tense because the Father is coming to... (full context)
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...that shows her face how it actually looks, not in reverse like most mirrors. The Mother interjects to introduce Klara, and the Father greets Klara curtly. The Mother insists they all... (full context)
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In the car, the Father and the Mother argue about their careers and about the portrait. Meanwhile, Klara notices that they’re near her... (full context)
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Klara, Josie, the Mother, and the Father enter Mr. Capaldi’s house. The Mother asks to see the portrait, and... (full context)
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...Klara to a separate room. While he does, they can hear the Father and the Mother having an argument about something being “not consistent.” Klara begins the questionnaire. (full context)
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Klara overhears the Father, the Mother, and Mr. Capaldi arguing, with the Father taking issue with Mr. Capaldi’s ethics. Klara gets... (full context)
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...says to just let them go, so they leave without Klara. With them gone, the Mother confesses that she had misgivings about Josie’s “portrait” even before the Father raised objections. Mr.... (full context)
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...looks accurate. She confirms that she completed the questionnaire and has stored the answers. The Mother asks Klara to describe what she thought she saw. (full context)
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...in fact an AF. She confirms that it looks accurate but suggests narrower hips. The Mother still seems doubtful and mentions how things didn’t work out in the past with Sal. (full context)
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...on currently is something that actually will be Josie, a true continuation of her. The Mother doubts whether she’ll ever be able to believe that. (full context)
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Mr. Capaldi and the Mother confess that the real purpose of the day’s appointment has more to do with Klara... (full context)
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The Mother drives Klara to outside the burger place where Josie and the Father are, but the... (full context)
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Klara asks what will happen to her current body if she becomes Josie. The Mother says that shouldn’t matter. What’s more, if she becomes Josie, Klara will get not only... (full context)
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The Mother goes into the hamburger restaurant, then the Father comes out without Josie. The Father tells... (full context)
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...the machine. The Father mentions that even though he wasn’t able to explain to the Mother why he hates Mr. Capaldi, he’d like to try to explain to Klara. Part of... (full context)
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...that she wants to do it. They sabotage the Cootings Machine and then meet the Mother, Josie, Rick, and Miss Helen at a sushi café. Everyone seems happy, although Josie is... (full context)
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...and Klara doesn’t think it will send any special help that day. They spot the Mother on the phone nearby. They are all waiting outside a theater for Vance to come... (full context)
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The Mother and Miss Helen talk while they wait for Vance to come out for Rick, which... (full context)
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Just then, the Father comes up to the Mother and asks if she told Josie everything. The Mother admits that she told Josie that... (full context)
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...one of the seats. The woman eventually goes away, and Klara overhears Josie asking the Mother to make sure that Klara will get sole use of her room. Her mother says... (full context)
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Miss Helen comes and announces that she’ll be taking Klara because the Mother has to go back and have a private conversation with Josie. Josie whispers in Klara’s... (full context)
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The Mother comes back and finds the group’s booth. The Mother has left Josie alone at the... (full context)
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...room. She is half asleep but starts to wake up. She tells Klara that the Mother offered to quit her job so that she could always be with Josie, but Josie... (full context)
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The Mother, Josie, Klara, Rick, and Miss Helen all drive back from the city. Miss Helen says... (full context)
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...is another Cootings Machine, even bigger, that creates more pollution than the first one. The Mother says there are probably other options for Rick if Atlas Brookings doesn’t work out, but... (full context)
Part Five
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...says Josie is worse than she’s ever been before and that the doctor and the Mother have given up hope. Klara, however, believes there is still hope and that help might... (full context)
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In the following days, the Mother and Josie’s doctor argue about whether Josie should go to a hospital. The adults all... (full context)
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One day when Rick is visiting, the Mother pulls him aside to ask if he feels like he won. Rick doesn’t seem to... (full context)
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...her recently. He says that Josie gave him a message to pass on to the Mother at the correct time. The message was that Josie will always love the Mother, and... (full context)
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The Mother is surprised by the message and can’t respond. Klara interrupts them and says that they... (full context)
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...wonders why so many people are in her room. She says she feels better. The Mother says they should assume nothing, just take things one step at a time. (full context)
Part Six
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...Man. Seasons and years go by. Josie does well with tutorials and she and the Mother often argue about college, particularly since Rick is no longer interested in Atlas Brookings. (full context)
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...asks if Klara will be all right after Josie goes to college. She says the Mother is always kind to her. Rick says he is also always there if Klara ever... (full context)
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Like Josie, the Mother also has less to do with Klara. One day, she is surprised to walk in... (full context)
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...be willing to help, as long as it won’t cause problems for Josie or the Mother. He wants to take Klara apart so that people can see her inner workings. (full context)
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The Mother interrupts to say this isn’t what she and Mr. Capaldi discussed on the phone. She... (full context)