The Memory Police

by

Yoko Ogawa

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The Narrator’s Father Character Analysis

The unnamed narrator’s father is an ornithologist who passed away of natural causes when the narrator was a young girl. The narrator has very fond memories of visiting her father at work—she would go up to the observatory near their house, pretending to bring him lunch but really just wanting to visit, and look through her father’s big binoculars at all of the birds. The narrator’s father was a studious researcher and had many notes, which he kept in the office in their home. Five years after he died, birds “disappeared” from the island. The narrator is relieved that her father never had to live to see birds disappear, as she doesn’t think he would have been ablet to bring himself to find new work—identifying birds was his “one true gift.” The Memory Police ransacked the narrator’s father’s office right after he died, in an attempt to get rid of any and all paperwork referring to birds. Years later, the narrator hides R in a hidden room below her father’s old office.

The Narrator’s Father Quotes in The Memory Police

The The Memory Police quotes below are all either spoken by The Narrator’s Father or refer to The Narrator’s Father. 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:
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
).
Chapter 2  Quotes

The little brown creature flew in a wide circle and then vanished north. I couldn’t recall the name of the species, and I found myself wishing I’d paid more attention when I’d been with my father at the observatory. I tried to hold on to the way it looked in flight or the sound of its chirping or the colors of its feathers, but I knew it was useless. This bird, which should have been intertwined with memories of my father, was already unable to elicit any feeling in me at all. It was nothing more than a simple creature, moving through space as a function of the vertical motion of its wings.

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), The Narrator’s Father
Related Symbols: Birds
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10  Quotes

R let out a little gasp of surprise as I rolled up the carpet and lifted the trapdoor.

“Like a cave floating in the sky,” he murmured.

“It’s a bit tight, I know, but at least you’ll be safe here. No one can see you from outside, and there’s not much chance of them hearing you either.”

Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Narrator’s Father Character Timeline in The Memory Police

The timeline below shows where the character The Narrator’s Father appears in The Memory Police. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Years pass. The narrator’s mother and father have died. The narrator mentions that she might have family living on the other side... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
The narrator thinks of her father, who was an ornithologist. He spent his time collecting data and photographing birds, and the... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...another profession when a thing disappears that effects their work (though she doesn’t think her father would have been able to do this). She marvels at how most people—and she notes... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
...he says, but then feels guilty when he sees the narrator and remembers her late father’s profession. All sense of connection is gone for the narrator as she watches the bird.... (full context)
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
...that enforces “disappearances”—are at her home, and they demand to be taken to the narrator’s father’s old office. She reminds them that her father died five years ago, but they don’t... (full context)
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
The Memory Police then storm into the narrator’s father’s office, seeming to know exactly how to get through the house. They brusquely go through... (full context)
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
After an hour, the Memory Police leave with 10 bags full of the narrator’s father’s old papers. She feels like this experience is different than when her mother was taken... (full context)
Chapter 3 
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
The narrator’s writing routine involves staying up late, working in her father’s old office. She often takes walks at night, along a coastal road. There is a... (full context)
Chapter 9 
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
The narrator and the old man agree that a small, hidden room underneath the narrator’s father’s old office is the best place to hide R. The basement would be more comfortable,... (full context)
Chapter 19 
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
...just like the wings of the things she used to watch through binoculars with her father. Birds. But even this memory soon fades, and she only sees the fires illuminating the... (full context)