Klara and the Sun

by

Kazuo Ishiguro

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The Sun Symbol Icon

The Sun plays a god-like role in the novel, symbolizing both that people have lost touch with nature and the emotional power of having faith in something bigger than oneself. Klara is solar-powered, so the Sun actually does provide nourishment to her—she is sluggish when she doesn’t get enough sunlight. Perhaps because of this, Klara seems to overestimate the effect the Sun has on humans, believing at one point that the Sun is responsible for bringing Beggar Man back from a near-death state. Klara develops rituals about how to communicate with the sun, further imbuing it with a divine kind of authority. She treats Mr. McBain’s barn, where the Sun appears to set, as a place of worship, and she tries to communicate with the Sun in her mind, as if it’s a deity that can read her thoughts. And though it is perhaps nothing more than a coincidence, Josie makes a miraculous recovery on a sunny morning after Klara has pleaded with the Sun to spare her. In a way, then, the novel invites readers to set aside their cynicism and, at the very least, consider the extent to which having faith in the Sun has given Klara not just a sense of hope and meaning, but agency, too. The Sun therefore comes to symbolize the power of believing in something bigger than oneself. And yet, none of the humans around Klara think about the Sun at all. As a result, the Sun’s function in the novel also represents just how out of touch humans have become with the natural world.

The Sun Quotes in Klara and the Sun

The Klara and the Sun quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Sun. 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 One Quotes

When we were new, Rosa and I were mid-store, on the magazines table side, and could see through more than half of the window. So we were able to watch the outside—the office workers hurrying by, the taxis, the runners, the tourists, Beggar Man and his dog, the lower part of the RPO building.

Related Characters: Klara (speaker), Beggar Man, Rosa, Josie, Manager
Related Symbols: The Sun
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

The next morning, the grid went up and it was a most splendid day. The Sun was pouring his nourishment onto the street and into the buildings, and when I looked over to the spot where Beggar Man and the dog had died, I saw they weren’t dead at all—that a special kind of nourishment from the Sun had saved them.

Related Characters: Klara (speaker), Beggar Man
Related Symbols: The Sun
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
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 Five Quotes

But I’m remembering how delighted you were on that day Coffee Cup Lady and Raincoat Man found each other again. You were so delighted and couldn’t help showing it. So I know just how much it matters to you that people who love one another are brought together, even after many years.

Related Characters: Klara (speaker), Josie, Rick, Beggar Man, Coffee Cup Lady and Raincoat Man
Related Symbols: The Sun
Page Number: 271
Explanation and Analysis:
Part Six Quotes

“But now we’re no longer kids, we have to wish each other the best and go our different ways. It couldn’t have worked out, me going to college, trying to compete with all those lifted kids. I’ve got my own plans now, and that’s how it should be. But that was no lie, Klara. And in a funny way, it still isn’t a lie now.”

Related Characters: Rick (speaker), Klara, Josie
Related Symbols: The Sun
Page Number: 288
Explanation and Analysis:

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 Sun Symbol Timeline in Klara and the Sun

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Sun 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
...position, Klara can see out the window to watch the rising and setting of the Sun, which she believes gives her nourishment. One day, when the sun goes away, a boy... (full context)
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...because of all the pollution from the Cootings Machine. Daytime becomes like night, and the Sun stops coming into the store. Manager assures Klara that the awful Cootings Machine has been... (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 12-year-old girl with spiky... (full context)
Part Two
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...around. Klara likes how the kitchen has a lot of room to let in the Sun, though she finds it strange that out the window she can’t see traffic or other... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...looks out at three adjoining fields. 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... (full context)
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...Josie explains is Mr. McBain’s barn. For Klara, this barn appears to be where the Sun goes to rest in the evening. (full context)
Part Three
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...Klara outside. As she walks, she gets the idea of asking for help from the Sun for Josie, since the Sun did so much to help Beggar Man. (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...Klara asks to be left alone. She sits and waits in the barn for the Sun to fill it. As the Sun gets near, she forms words in her thoughts (because... (full context)
Part Four
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
The Father, Josie, Klara, Miss Helen, and Ricky all leave the sushi café. The Sun is nearly setting, and Klara doesn’t think it will send any special help that day.... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
...tells the Mother that it’s possible to hope that things might get better when the Sun rises tomorrow. The Mother warns Klara that she just had a strange conversation with Josie... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...in touch. Klara is disappointed and believes that the new Cootings Machine is why the Sun didn’t intervene to help Josie. (full context)
Part Five
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
Klara says she must go back to McBain’s barn right before the Sun goes down. Rick says he’ll help. Klara asks Rick to really think and tell the... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
...with the sun’s orange light. Klara begins forming words in her mind to address the Sun again. (full context)
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... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
Klara tells the Sun that she remembers how happy he was on the day that Coffee Cup Lady met... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
Thinking back to the conversation between Vance and Rick, Klara tells the Sun that she knows favoritism isn’t a good thing. Still, she says that surely young people... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...Klara interrupts them and says that they have to go upstairs at once because the Sun is coming out. Rick and the Mother are worried, but they find that Josie is... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...sleep, but Klara insists that they need to open the blinds and let as much Sun in as possible. The Sun begins to illuminate Josie and her whole bed. They all... (full context)
Part Six
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
Klara believes the Sun helped Josie just as it helped Beggar Man. Seasons and years go by. Josie does... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...after hearing his car. Rick says that, thinking back, he remembers the morning when the Sun came into Josie’s room and how it seemed like that was the moment she started... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
Klara does mention, however, that she’s worried. She told the Sun that Josie and Rick’s love was real and forever, but it seems that they’re preparing... (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
...a way for Klara to stand on a plastic crate to see out to the Sun. (full context)
The Meaning of Love Theme Icon
Costs and Benefits of Progress Theme Icon
Faith and Hope Theme Icon
Environmentalism Theme Icon
...she must let Manager know that there was an incident in Josie’s home where the Sun showed particular kindness. Manager says she’s sure the Sun was always kind to Klara. They... (full context)