The Memory Police

by

Yoko Ogawa

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The Typing Teacher Character Analysis

The typing teacher is the antagonist of the unnamed narrator’s manuscript. His character starts off innocently enough—he and the woman apparently fall for each other during a typing class, and they become lovers. However, some time afterwards, the woman’s voice disappears, and he pretends that he will fix her broken typewriter when really he ends up locking in the top room of the clock tower where he teaches typing classes. There, he reveals that he actually was the reason that the woman’s voice went away—he says he “trapped” her voice inside the typewriter. After locking the woman inside the room and preventing her from leaving, the typing teacher physically and mentally abuses her. Eventually, the woman becomes such a shell of her former self that she does not fight back or try to leave—in the end, she is “absorbed” into the room. The typing teacher doesn’t care about her absence, though, and he just picks his next victim out of the young woman in his typing class. The typing teacher can be read as an allegory for the Memory Police, the government-run militia on the island where the narrator lives.

The Typing Teacher Quotes in The Memory Police

The The Memory Police quotes below are all either spoken by The Typing Teacher or refer to The Typing Teacher. 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 12  Quotes

The tapping of the key striking the paper was the only sound in the room. Snow had begun to fall again, covering the tracks I had made […] He continued to hold me tighter […] The bell in the clock tower began to chime. Five o’clock. The vibration came from far above, rattling the window glass and passing through our bodies, before being absorbed by the snow below. The only motion was the falling of the snowflakes. I held my breath, unable to move, as though locked inside the typewriter.

Related Characters: The Woman (speaker), The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), The Typing Teacher
Related Symbols: Snow
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15  Quotes

“You’ll forget you ever had a voice,” he continued. “You may find it annoying at first, until you get used to it. You’ll move your lips as you just did, go looking for a typewriter, a notepad. But soon enough you’ll see how pointless it is. You have no need to talk, no need to utter a single word. There’s nothing to worry about, nothing to fear. Then, at last, you’ll be all mine.”

Related Characters: The Typing Teacher (speaker), The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), The Woman, The Memory Police
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Typing Teacher Character Timeline in The Memory Police

The timeline below shows where the character The Typing Teacher appears in The Memory Police. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5 
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
...on her new novel, about a woman—a typist—who loses her voice. The woman’s boyfriend—her typing teacher—tries to massage her throat, but the voice never comes back, so they communicate only through... (full context)
Chapter 6 
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
...staircase to meet her lover, almost tripping in her excitement. Her lover is a typing teacher—halfway up the staircase, she begins to hear the “click-clacking” of typing. She wonders if her... (full context)
Chapter 8 
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
...been three months since she lost her voice. To communicate with her lover, the typing teacher, she types everything. Even when they have sex, the typewriter is on the bed. It... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
The woman remembers the first time the typing teacher showed her how to change an ink ribbon and how impressive it was watching him... (full context)
Chapter 12 
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
The woman was surprised when her lover, the typing teacher, first showed up to teach typing class, since he was a young man in well-cut... (full context)
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
The woman recounts the class that she and the teacher first got close. It was a stormy day, and she was the only student who... (full context)
Chapter 15 
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
...and she can’t communicate without it. As she forcefully prods at the keys, her typing teacher kneels next to her, telling her that will just make it worse. He opens the... (full context)
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
The woman and the teacher climb the stairs to the top of the steeple. The woman remembers how this room... (full context)
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
Although the woman taps the teacher on the shoulder, indicating he should start the repairs, he just takes off his pocket... (full context)
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
...woman wants to say, “fix one, quickly!” but she can only move and grip the teacher’s shoulder. He finally looks up from his stopwatch and says, plainly, that her voice will... (full context)
Chapter 18 
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
At one point, the typing teacher brought up a folding sofa bed. When he brought it up the stairs, it was... (full context)
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
The typing teacher brings the woman her meals. He never eats with her, but he watches her eat.... (full context)
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
...from her soul.” She’s disassociating from her body and can only watch while the typing teacher plays with it. (full context)
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
One day, the woman hears voices from the open window and sees the teacher on the ground laughing and talking to some students. She hears what he’s saying but... (full context)
Chapter 27 
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
The woman is surprised that she doesn’t hate the typing teacher as much as she should. Even though he stole her voice and locked her away... (full context)
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
One day, the woman hears steps coming up the stairs that are not the teacher’s. She wonders who they might belong to and thinks that the person approaching must be... (full context)
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
That night, the typing teacher appears with more strange clothing, though the woman notices that they’re not as elaborate as... (full context)
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
The typing teacher stops visiting the room frequently. He barely brings food anymore and hardly looks at the... (full context)
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
Eventually, the typing teacher no longer visits the woman. She loses track of time and of her body. She... (full context)