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