One of the unusual aspects of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun is that the most spiritual character is a robot. Although human characters occasionally say things like “Oh my God,” there’s nothing to suggest that any of them are particularly religious. By contrast, while Klara also has no traditional concepts of any god or religion, she treats the Sun as if it’s a personal god with the power to intervene in her life as well as human lives. When her human, Josie, gets very sick, Klara directly asks the Sun for help. She goes down to McBain’s barn (which is like a church or other place of worship) and forms a request to the Sun in her mind (which is like praying).
On the one hand, the book could be interpreted as a critique of faith, since Klara’s whole religion is based on a misunderstanding (because she is solar powered, she believes humans also get “nourishment” from the Sun). But faith in Klara and the Sun is more complicated than that, and other aspects of it are portrayed positively. For example, Rick, who has an aptitude for engineering and rational thinking, supports Klara’s rituals, even though he believes her actions are ultimately “AF superstition.” When Josie does seem to make a miraculous recovery, it begins on a morning when the Sun shines brightly in her room. Even Rick admits that it really does seem as if Klara’s “superstitions” have a certain kind of power, even if he doesn’t necessarily believe the same things as Klara. Ultimately, Klara and the Sun demonstrates that perhaps the most important aspect of faith is how it gives individuals the hope to keep trying.
Faith and Hope ThemeTracker
Faith and Hope Quotes in Klara and the Sun
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.
“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.”
“Please make Josie better. Just as you did Beggar Man.”
“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.”
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.
“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.
“You must tell me if the love between Rick and Josie is genuine, if it’s a true and lasting one. I must know this. Because if the answer is yes, then I’ll have something to bargain with, regardless of what occurred in the city. So please think carefully Rick, and tell me the truth.”
“I don’t need to think. Josie and I grew up together and we’re part of each other. And we’ve got our plan. So of course our love’s genuine and forever. And it won’t make any difference to us who’s been lifted and who hasn’t. That’s your answer, Klara, and there won’t be any other.”
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
Around the same time, a kind yardman stopped in front of me and told me there were three AFs on the South Side, and two in the Ring. If I wished, he said, he could transport me to one or the other of these areas. But I told him I was content with my special spot, and he nodded and went on his way.
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.