Klara and the Sun

by

Kazuo Ishiguro

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The Cootings Machine Symbol Analysis

The Cootings Machine Symbol Icon

The “Cootings Machine” is a name Klara gives to a construction vehicle that spews large clouds of smoke that ultimately block out the Sun. The machine itself represents the negative side effects of progress and how modern technology causes harm to the environment and is unpleasant for humans (since the people on the street all seem happier on the days when the Cootings Machine isn’t around). Klara calls these vehicles Cootings Machines because Cootings is written on the side (presumably because it’s the name of the manufacturer). Eventually, Klara gets the idea that she needs a favor from the Sun (in order to cure Josie’s illness), and she decides that the best way to obtain a favor from the Sun is to do something that will please the Sun. She thus decides to destroy the Cootings Machine, which she does using the expertise of the Father. The results of the sabotage are mixed—on the one hand, the broken Cootings Machine is simply replaced by a larger one, but on the other hand, Klara gets her wish and Josie is cured. In turn, the Cootings Machine demonstrates that the fight for a better, less polluted environment is difficult but ultimately worthwhile.

The Cootings Machine Quotes in Klara and the Sun

The Klara and the Sun quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Cootings Machine. 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:
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
).
Part Three Quotes

“Please make Josie better. Just as you did Beggar Man.”

Related Characters: Klara (speaker), Josie, Rick, Beggar Man, Mr. McBain
Related Symbols: The Cootings Machine, The Sun
Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:
Part Four Quotes

“You know, Klara. I don’t even know what this is about. But I want what’s best for Josie. Exactly the same as you. So I’m willing to grasp at any chance that comes our way.”

I turned to him with a smile and nodded. “Yes,” I said. “Then let’s try.”

Related Characters: The Father (speaker), Klara (speaker), Josie
Related Symbols: The Cootings Machine, The Sun
Page Number: 224
Explanation and Analysis:

Its body was a different shade of yellow, its dimensions a little greater—and its ability to create Pollution more than a match for the first Cootings Machine.

Related Characters: Klara (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Cootings Machine, The Sun
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:
Part Six Quotes

When she was mid-distance, she stopped and turned, and I thought she might look back one last time at me. But she was gazing at the far distance, in the direction of the construction crane on the horizon. Then she continued to walk away.

Related Characters: Klara (speaker), Manager
Related Symbols: The Sun, The Cootings Machine
Page Number: 303
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Klara and the Sun LitChart as a printable PDF.
Klara and the Sun PDF

The Cootings Machine Symbol Timeline in Klara and the Sun

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Cootings Machine appears in Klara and the Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part One
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...still see out the window, and she notices a big device that she names the Cootings Machine (because “Cootings” is written on the side). The Cootings Machine spews pollution and makes the... (full context)
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...window don’t get the sunlight they were expecting because of all the pollution from the Cootings Machine . Daytime becomes like night, and the Sun stops coming into the store. Manager assures... (full context)
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
Then one morning the Cootings Machine is gone, the Sun is back, and everyone outside seems happier. Two days later, a... (full context)
Part Three
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
Klara begins to think about destroying the Cootings Machine . She doesn’t want to tell anyone about her plan, but—conveniently—the Mother tells Klara that... (full context)
Part Four
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
...the portrait. Meanwhile, Klara notices that they’re near her old store, and she sees the Cootings Machine , which is still spewing pollution. As it turns out, the store has moved somewhere... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...admits that she isn’t really there to see the store. She talks about destroying the Cootings Machine to stop its pollution. Since the Father is an engineer, Klara wonders if he can... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
The Father is still confused, but he agrees to help Klara disable the Cootings Machine . They make it to the machine. The Father mentions that even though he wasn’t... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...explains that there is a substance called P-E-G Nine that can be put into the Cootings Machine to break it. He explains that Klara actually has P-E-G Nine inside her head, and... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...it will be cognitive. Klara maintains 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... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
As the car keeps going, Klara is disappointed to notice there is another Cootings Machine , even bigger, that creates more pollution than the first one. The Mother says there... (full context)
Part Five
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
Klara begs the Sun’s forgiveness for failing to stop the Cootings Machine ’s pollution, but she asks the Sun to recognize her attempts to stop pollution. She... (full context)