The Memory Police

by

Yoko Ogawa

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The Unnamed Narrator Character Analysis

The unnamed narrator is the protagonist of The Memory Police. She is a young woman who lives alone, since both her mother and her father are dead. She is a novelist and shares her writing with her editor, R, whom she cares deeply for and eventually falls in love with. She is close friends with her late nurse’s husband, the old man who lives on a dilapidated ferry. The book is vague about her physical appearance, but she is a quiet and demure woman. When the Memory Police begin rounding up people who are unaffected by the “disappearances” on the island, she, along with the old man, devises a plan to hide and shelter R (who does not forget the memories of things that are disappeared). Sheltering R becomes her mission throughout the novel. The narrator has a bit more knowledge than the average citizen about the “disappearances,” because her mother also did not forget like she was supposed to and used to show the narrator some of the beautiful items that disappeared from the island a long time ago. The narrator tries to fight back against the Memory Police and against the epidemic of forgetting—she even finishes a manuscript after novels are disappeared—but ultimately, she is unable to fill the void in her heart and mind where the memories used to be. The novel ends with the narrator—who’s entire body and voice are gone—disappearing in the hidden room that she used to shelter R.

The Unnamed Narrator Quotes in The Memory Police

The The Memory Police quotes below are all either spoken by The Unnamed Narrator or refer to The Unnamed Narrator . 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 1 Quotes

Ribbon, bell, emerald, stamp. The words that came from my mother’s mouth thrilled me, like the names of little girls from distant countries or new species of plants. As I listened to her talk, it made me happy to imagine a time when all these things had a place on the island.

Yet that was also rather difficult to do. The objects in my palm seemed to cower there, absolutely still, like little animals in hibernation, sending me no signal at all. They often left me with an uncertain feeling, as though I were trying to make images of the could in the sky out of modeling clay. When I stood before the secret drawers, I felt I had to concentrate on each word my mother said.

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), The Narrator’s Mother
Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:
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 4  Quotes

“But why do they take people away? They haven’t don’t anything wrong.”

“The island is run by men who are determined to see things disappear. From their point of view, anything that fails to vanish when they say it should is inconceivable. So they force it to disappear with their own hands.”

“Do you think my mother was killed?” I knew it was pointless to ask R, but the question slipped out.

“She was definitely under observation, being studied.” R chose his words carefully.

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), R (speaker), The Narrator’s Mother, The Memory Police
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:

“It seems strange that you can still create something totally new like this—just from words—on an island where everything else is disappearing,” he said, brushing a bit of dirt from one of the pages as though he were caressing something precious.

I realized that we were thinking the same thing. As we looked into each other’s eyes, I felt, once again, the anxiety that had taken root in our hearts a long time ago.

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), R (speaker)
Page Number: 25
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5  Quotes

“It’s terribly kind of you to be concerned, but I think it would be best not to tell you anything about the safe house. It’s not that we’re worried you might let something slip—if that were the case, we would never have brought the sculptures here in the first place. But we can’t allow ourselves to cause you any more trouble than we already have. The more deeply you become involved, the more danger you’ll be in. You can’t be forced to reveal what you don’t know, but if you do know something, there’s no telling what they might do to get it out of you. So I beg of you, please don’t ask about the safehouse.”

Related Characters: Professor Inui (speaker), The Unnamed Narrator
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6  Quotes

The few flowers in the garden other than roses had survived—bellflowers, a couple of spiny cacti, some gentians. They bloomed discreetly, as though embarrassed to have been spared. The breeze seemed to discriminate, choosing only the rose petals to scatter.

A garden without roses was a meaningless, desolate place, and it was terribly sad to see the trellises and other signs of all the care that had been lavished on the flowers […] I wandered across the hill as though walking through a cemetery of unmarked graves.

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7  Quotes

“It’s true, I know, that there are more gaps in the island than there used to be. When I was a child, the whole place seemed…how can I put this?...a lot fuller, a lot more real. But as things got thinner, more full of holes, our hearts got thinner, too, diluted somehow. I supposed that kept things in balance. And even when that balance begins to collapse, something remains. Which is why you shouldn’t worry.”

Related Characters: The Old Man (speaker), The Unnamed Narrator
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8  Quotes

“Sometimes I try to remember—those were precious moments with my mother—but I can’t recall the objects. My mother’s expression, the sound of her voice, the smell of the basement air—I can remember all that perfectly. But the things in the drawers are vague, as though those memories, and those alone, have dissolved.”

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), The Narrator’s Mother, R
Page Number: 62
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:
Chapter 11  Quotes

“Memories don’t just pile up—they also change over time. And sometimes they fade of their own accord. Though the process, for me, is quite different from what happens to the rest of you when something disappears from the island.”

“Different how?” I asked […]

“My memories don’t feel like they’ve been pulled up by the root. Even if they fade, something remains. Like tiny seeds that might germinate again if the rain falls.”

Related Characters: R (speaker), The Unnamed Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:
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:

In this way we managed to live in relative security. Everything went according to plan, and we seemed to have solutions for any problems that did occur. The old man did much to help us, and R did his best to adjust quickly to the secret room.

But quite apart from the small satisfactions we enjoyed, the world outside was deteriorating day by day. The disappearances, which had slowed down after the roses, returned with two in quick succession: first, photographs, and then fruits of all sorts.

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), R, The Old Man
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13  Quotes

“Everything outside is completely different from when you came here. The snow has changed everything.”

“Changed how?”

“Well, it’s difficult to describe. For one thing, the world is completely buried. The snow is so deep that the sun barely starts to melt it when it does come out. It rounds everything, makes it look lumpy, and it somehow makes everything seem much smaller—the sky and sea, the hills and the forest and the river. And we all go around with our shoulders hunched over.”

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), R (speaker), The Old Man
Related Symbols: Snow
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14  Quotes

I watched him from behind for a few moments. Was it an illusion, or had his body actually begun to shrink since he’d hidden himself away here? He had definitely grown pale, without any contact with sunlight, and his appetite was poor, so he’d lost weight, but what I sensed was not that sort of tangible change but some more abstract transformation. Every time I saw him, I could feel the outline of his body blurring, his blood thinning, his muscles withering.

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), R
Page Number: 119
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:
Chapter 17  Quotes

Just then, three shadows emerged from the house to the east of mine. It was too dark to distinguish their features, but they walked wearily through the snow, backs bent, the Memory Police pushing them from behind, the light glinting cruelly off their guns.

Snatches of my neighbors’ voices could be heard in the dark.

“I had no idea they were hiding people in there,” said the former hatmaker. “Who would have thought it?”

“Seems as though both the husband and wife were in a secret group that help folks like that.”

“I guess that’s why they didn’t get to know anyone in the neighborhood.”

“Look at him. He’s just a child.”

Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:

“I think all this crying must be proof that my heart is so weak that I don’t know how to help myself.”

“But I’d say it’s just the opposite. Your heart is doing everything it can to preserve its existence. No matter how many memories these men take away, they’ll never reduce it to nothing.”

“I hope that’s true.”

I looked at R. I needed only to lean slightly in his direction for us to be touching. He raised his hand and brushed away a tear at the corner of my eye with his fingers.

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), R (speaker), The Memory Police , The Old Man
Page Number: 158
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19  Quotes

Needless to say, R was violently opposed to losing our collection of novels.

“You’ve got to bring them all here,” he said, “including your manuscript.”

If I do, the room will be buried in books, with no place for you to live.” I shook my head.

“Don’t worry about that, I don’t need much space. If we hide them here, they’ll never find them.”

“But what happens to them? What’s the point of storing away books that have disappeared?”

He sighed and pressed his fingers to his temples—as he always did when we talked about the disappearances. Try as we might to understand each other, nothing changed for either of us. The more we talked, the sadder we became.

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), R (speaker)
Page Number: 176
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20  Quotes

When we’d finished eating, the old man went to find the music box hidden in the bathroom. He set it on the table and we listened together. As always, it faithfully repeated its tune, over and over. We stopped chatting, sat up straight, and closed our eyes. I had no idea where or how one was supposed to listen to a music box, but I had decided arbitrarily that closing my eyes would enhance the effect R had hoped it would induce in us.

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), The Old Man, R
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22  Quotes

I’d heard rumors that people who had been hiding were forced to wander the streets when their homes were destroyed by the earthquake or the fires that followed it. And that the Memory Police had been rounding them up and taking them into custody one after the other. But I had no way to know whether the Inui family had actually been in that truck or not. All I could do was pray that someone had continued to cut the little boy’s fingernails and that the blue gloves were still protecting him.

Page Number: 207
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25  Quotes

“Even if the whole island disappears, this room will still be here,” R said. His tone was even and calm, filled with love, as though he were reading an inscription engraved on a stone monument. “Don’t we have all the memories preserved here in this room? The emerald, the map, the photograph, the harmonica, the novel—everything. This is the very bottom of the mind’s swamp, the place where memories come to rest.”

Related Characters: R (speaker), The Unnamed Narrator
Page Number: 232
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 26  Quotes

By the time their right arms disappeared, people were less troubled than they had been with the disappearance of their left legs. They didn’t linger in bed, wondering what had happened, or spend hours trying to figure out how to get dressed, or worry about how to dispose of the disappeared item. To be honest we had been certain something like this would happen sooner or later.

The disappearances of body parts were, in fact, easier and more peaceful than earlier ones, as no one had to gather in the square to burn the objects or send them floating down the river. There was no uproar, no confusion. We merely went about our usual morning routines, accepting that a new cavity had opened in our lives.

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 256
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28  Quotes

For a very long time, he sat staring at the void in his palms. When at last he had convinced himself that there was nothing left, he let his arms drop wearily. Then he climbed the ladder one rung at a time, lifted the trapdoor, and went out into the world. Sunlight came streaming in for one moment but vanished again as the door creaked shut. The faint sound of the rug being rolled out on the floor came to me from above.

Closed in the hidden room, I continued to disappear.

Related Characters: The Unnamed Narrator (speaker), R
Page Number: 269
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Unnamed Narrator Character Timeline in The Memory Police

The timeline below shows where the character The Unnamed Narrator appears in The Memory Police. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
An unnamed narrator sits in her mother’s sculpture studio in the basement of their home on an unidentified... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
The narrator listens to her mother while sitting on a little stool. Her mother, in a soft... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
The narrator ’s mother then leads the narrator to an old cabinet with small drawers, which is... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
Once the narrator chooses, her mother opens the drawer, smiles, and hands the narrator a “kind of fabric... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
The narrator ’s favorite story that her mother tells her is about “perfume”—the narrator thinks she is... (full context)
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Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
At nine o’clock, the narrator is about to go upstairs to bed. But first, she asks her mother the question... (full context)
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... (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... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
The narrator explains that most people are able to quickly move to another profession when a thing... (full context)
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Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
The narrator remembers the morning birds were disappeared. In the memory, she wakes up with the familiar,... (full context)
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The day after the birds’ disappearance, there’s an unexpected, violent ring on the narrator ’s doorbell. The Memory Police—the feared arm of the state that enforces “disappearances”—are at her... (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... (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... (full context)
Chapter 3 
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
The narrator ’s profession is writing. She has published three novels. Each book is about something that... (full context)
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... (full context)
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The old man always asks how the narrator ’s next novel is coming along, to which she replies “slowly.” Her work as a... (full context)
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When the sun starts to go down, the narrator says goodbye and leaves the ferry and the old man. On the way home, she... (full context)
Chapter 4 
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That Wednesday, the narrator has an “encounter” with the Memory Police. She’s seen them three other times this month... (full context)
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
...middle-aged men, a woman in her thirties, and a thin teenage girl. It’s clear to the narrator —from the untied shoelaces and messy bags—that these people had to pack quickly. The Memory... (full context)
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
...climb into the van, but it is too high, and she falls on her back. The narrator cries out inadvertently, dropping her manuscript. The other people watching look at the narrator “disapprovingly”—only... (full context)
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
...moment for the people on the street to continue what they were doing. Only when the narrator hears an engine start up does she feel like she can move again. (full context)
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
When the narrator arrives at the publishing house, she tells her editor, R, that she saw something horrible.... (full context)
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The narrator wants to ask more questions about what a safe house means, but she gets nervous... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
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The conversation trickles off. Eventually, the narrator says that she always found it strange that the Memory Police can tell who these... (full context)
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
...the island is “run” by men who are determined to make disappeared things stay forgotten. The narrator asks R if he thinks the Memory Police killed her mother, and R answers carefully,... (full context)
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
R then holds the narrator ’s manuscript and muses about how odd it is to still be able to create... (full context)
Chapter 5 
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
The end of autumn arrives. The old man and the narrator work together to prepare the ferry for winter. The old man says that although it... (full context)
Storytelling, Longevity, and Defiance Theme Icon
The next day, winter sets in, and the river ices over. The narrator works on her new novel, about a woman—a typist—who loses her voice. The woman’s boyfriend—her... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Later that night, the narrator is working late—past midnight—when she hears a knock. Though at first she can’t place it,... (full context)
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The narrator is nervous, but the knock seems too polite to be that of a burglar, so... (full context)
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...supposed to be escorted to the center later that morning along with his family. When the narrator asks why, Inui says that he has no idea. However, he suspects that they want... (full context)
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
...Inui’s wife hesitantly adds that their summons is just like the letter that came for the narrator ’s mother. The narrator thinks about her mother’s death, which happened when she was much... (full context)
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A fancy black car picked the narrator ’s mother up on the day she left—the narrator remembers her mother waving from the... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
...never work for them. Though he doesn’t want to frighten his children, he explains to the narrator how serious he thinks this is, which is why they all have to be on... (full context)
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
Before Professor Inui and his family leaves, the narrator hurries upstairs to make a drink. She brings the family heated milk in mugs, and... (full context)
Chapter 6 
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The narrator stops writing and puts down her pencil. The new novel is not going well, and... (full context)
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
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Once in bed, the narrator thinks of the Inui family. She has been walking by their old apartment since the... (full context)
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The next morning, when the narrator wakes up, she knows that something else has “disappeared.” The morning is cold. She makes... (full context)
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The narrator goes outside so she can see the river, which is flowing and looks beautiful. She... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
...other types of flowers remain, the garden looks hollow and barren without its signature bloom. The narrator realizes that she’s already begun to forget what “this thing called a rose” ever looked... (full context)
Chapter 7 
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
People continue to dispose of their roses. The narrator comes across a woman who once won a prize for the beauty of her roses,... (full context)
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Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...river is back to normal. The old man saw all this happen from the ferry. The narrator , visiting him, asks how the wind knows to get rid of only the rose... (full context)
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The old man tries to reassure the narrator , telling her she doesn’t need to worry because it’s possible to get used to... (full context)
Chapter 8 
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The narrator invites R to her house to show him what she wrote. He shows great consideration... (full context)
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After discussing the manuscript, R and the narrator sit together without speaking. She realizes that she knows almost nothing about R outside of... (full context)
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Once downstairs, the narrator tells R that he can look around and open any drawers or notebooks he’d like.... (full context)
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The narrator admits that even though she can remember many of the details surrounding her mother’s stories... (full context)
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The narrator then asks R how he knew what she was talking about. He doesn’t respond but... (full context)
Chapter 9 
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
The narrator sits with the old man on the boat. She is about to tell him a... (full context)
Authoritarianism and Surveillance Theme Icon
The narrator and the old man agree that a small, hidden room underneath the narrator’s father’s old... (full context)
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The next day, the narrator and the old man get to work setting up the hideaway. It is a terribly... (full context)
Chapter 10 
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A few days later, in the office of the publishing house, the narrator tells R that she has a place for him to hide. She tells him to... (full context)
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The narrator continues insisting that this is the best plan for everyone. R thinks about it, admitting... (full context)
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Two days later, it rains heavily. The narrator waits nervously in her home. It normally takes 25 minutes to walk to her house... (full context)
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
R is surprised that the hiding space is in the narrator ’s house. She tells him that they’re not working with any of the underground organizations... (full context)
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The old man and the narrator leave R to get situated, and the narrator tells R she’ll bring him his lunch... (full context)
Chapter 11 
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After 10 days, this new way of living together is still a bit strange. The narrator finds herself thinking about the room often, and she is not making much progress on... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
Although R is very grateful, it’s clear to the narrator that he’s not totally comfortable in the tight, plain space. The two sit together one,... (full context)
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The narrator wonders what it might feel like holding R’s heart in her hand, and if by... (full context)
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The next day, the publishing house calls and assigns the narrator a new editor. He is plain and small, and he asks the narrator when she’ll... (full context)
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The narrator and the old man figure out how to communicate with R’s wife, who is now... (full context)
Chapter 12 
Loss, Isolation, and Identity Theme Icon
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Ever since the narrator got a new editor, she’s shown R all of her work before handing it to... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
...as different kinds of fruits, have been disappeared. The day photographs disappeared, R pleaded with the narrator not to burn them. He told her that they were valuable since they sustain memory,... (full context)
Chapter 13 
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...the houses for these searches or who will be next. Even the lightest sounds wake the narrator up at night, as she’s worried for R. People have taken to staying in their... (full context)
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One day, without warning, the Memory Police take the old man. The narrator opens the trapdoor of the secret room and desperately calls out to R. She says... (full context)
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...unrelated, since the Memory Police often round up people just to try and collect information. The narrator hopes nothing horrible has happened to him. R says that it’s possible he’s been tortured,... (full context)
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The next day, without telling R, the narrator decides she’ll go to the Memory Police headquarters. She wants any information she can get... (full context)
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Once inside the building, the narrator is in a large, dimly lit hall. There are more Memory Police officers inside, marching... (full context)
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The narrator sees an officer sitting at a desk and approaches him. She tells him that she... (full context)
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The narrator tries to argue with the Memory Police officer, determined to figure out where the old... (full context)
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The narrator is shocked by the elegance of the room—tapestries on the wall, leather couches—but this suddenly... (full context)
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The narrator asks this man why she is not allowed to visit or to bring things, and... (full context)
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The narrator then asks if they can at least tell her if the old man is safe,... (full context)
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The narrator looks around—she can see outside, where people are huddled waiting in line for a bank.... (full context)
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Later that night, back at home, the narrator is alert and on edge. She thinks she might write, but she can’t put down... (full context)
Memory and Connection  Theme Icon
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The narrator then tells R about how, when she was younger, “the mystery of sleep” fascinated her—she... (full context)
Chapter 14 
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Three days later, the Memory Police release the old man, and the narrator finds him on the ferry in his room. She tells him how glad she is... (full context)
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The narrator asks the old man about what happened while the Memory Police had him. He says... (full context)
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The narrator is in awe that anyone would plan such a daring escape and imagines what it... (full context)
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Not long after the old man’s return, R’s wife gives birth to their baby boy. The narrator facilitates the communication between R and his wife, since the old man is still not... (full context)
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When the narrator opens the trap door to give R his wife’s package, she notes that his body... (full context)
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Spontaneously, the narrator starts to tell R a story she once heard about very wealthy families who would... (full context)
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The narrator then gives R the box from his wife, and he sits quietly as he looks... (full context)
Chapter 15 
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The narrator realizes that the protagonist of her novel (the woman) is also now “trapped in a... (full context)
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When the narrator wakes up the next day, calendars have disappeared. She isn’t too concerned about this disappearance—it... (full context)
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The narrator and her neighbors all continue to chat on street. One person wonders if spring will... (full context)
Chapter 16 
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...Even though they can’t keep dates on calendars anymore or keep time through the seasons, the narrator feels sure that it is his birthday, and she says a celebration will do R... (full context)
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On the day of their celebration, the old man shows up at the narrator ’s house dressed well. The narrator has set everything up in the secret room, so... (full context)
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The party continues merrily. For a while, the narrator , the old man, and R are almost able to forget their circumstances. However, any... (full context)
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Once they finish dinner and dessert, the narrator and R take out their presents. The narrator gives the old man a porcelain shaving... (full context)
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The narrator tries desperately to remember a time when the orugōru existed, at least for R’s sake,... (full context)
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The music continues to play. The narrator asks R if he really thinks their hearts are decaying. He says he’s not sure... (full context)
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The narrator comments on how wonderful the party was, and R agrees that it was the best... (full context)
Chapter 17 
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The narrator freezes at the sound of the doorbell. The old man puts an arm around her... (full context)
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The Memory Police are indeed at the narrator ’s front door. They tell her and the old man to put their hands behind... (full context)
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...are brusque and systematic. Without “any trace of emotion,” they begin searching the rooms of the narrator ’s house. They never take their shoes off, and spots form on the floor from... (full context)
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...family for years. They ask why the sink is full of dirty pots and pans. The narrator amazes herself by being able to lie, saying that she cooked enough for a whole... (full context)
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...there are fewer rooms upstairs, they seem to search more thoroughly. The old man and the narrator are able to see what is happening in the study because the door is ajar.... (full context)
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A guard then asks the narrator what the pages on the desk are. She looks at the floor and tells them... (full context)
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Suddenly, the narrator realizes one corner of the rug that covers the trap door is askew. She begins... (full context)
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Luckily, the guard only holds an old datebook that the narrator had missed when gathering up all her calendars, and she is able to calmly say... (full context)
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People from the neighborhood look outside to watch the Memory Police leave. The narrator notices three figures come out of the house east of hers. She hears some of... (full context)
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Later that night, back in the secret room, the narrator weeps for longer than she ever has in her life. She knows she should be... (full context)
The narrator thinks she can smell the slightest hint of the old man’s birthday cake from earlier.... (full context)
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R wipes a tear from the narrator ’s face and holds her. The narrator thinks how, sitting there in the quiet, it... (full context)
Chapter 18 
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...Police’s raid on her house, the reality of what happened that night sinks in for the narrator . She has not been down to the secret room since that night—she leaves R... (full context)
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The narrator sits in the study and finishes writing for the day. She picks up her side... (full context)
Chapter 19 
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Several weeks pass. In this time, the narrator has a strange encounter with a woman while out on a walk. A woman selling... (full context)
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During these weeks, the narrator also hosts her neighbors, the ex-hatmaker and his wife. They need somewhere to stay while... (full context)
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Also in this time, the narrator starts caring for the young couple’s dog, Don. The old man helps the narrator move... (full context)
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After these “relatively uneventful” weeks, another disappearance occurs. The narrator thought she had become accustomed to them, but this disappearance is tricky. This time, novels... (full context)
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R tries to remind the narrator that she writes novels, but this seems to hardly register with her. She admits that... (full context)
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...town start burning their books. Flames rise all over the island. The old man helps the narrator carry all her remaining books to the center of town, so they can throw them... (full context)
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...woman moves to the font of the crowd, climbs on a bench, and starts shouting. The narrator cannot hear her, but she looks distraught and agitated. She’s wearing something odd on her... (full context)
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On their way home from burning the books, the old man and the narrator see that the library is on fire. The beauty of the burning library mesmerizes the... (full context)
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Continuing their walk home, the narrator and the old man stop by the observatory, which is in ruins. The narrator says... (full context)
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The narrator has a few more books with her, and she and the old man throw them... (full context)
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The narrator tells the old man she is going to try and write in secret, because R... (full context)
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Suddenly, the narrator “takes a deep breath and feels a sharp pain,” as though a “spark” has entered... (full context)
Chapter 20 
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Soon, just as the old man said she would, the narrator finds another job as a typist for a trading company. Something about the word “typist”... (full context)
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Later, when the narrator reads her manuscript that she keeps in R’s room, she remembers why the word “typist”... (full context)
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R encourages the narrator not to force the memories to return, but rather to slowly “untangle” them. She insists... (full context)
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Later, the old man asks the narrator if doing something she’s not used to doing is tiring. She replies that she’s enjoying... (full context)
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The old man asks the narrator how her novel writing is going, although it is difficult for him to say the... (full context)
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The old man then asks the narrator if she is in love with R. She says she supposes she is. But, she... (full context)
Chapter 21 
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Don hides under the old man’s couch, trembling. The narrator searches for the old man among the debris and finds him underneath a fallen dish... (full context)
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The narrator and the old man make it safely off the ferry and keep running until they... (full context)
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When the narrator and the old man turn to look at each other, they realize that they are... (full context)
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...emergency vehicles and the Memory Police’s trucks drive through the town. The old man and the narrator hurry to the narrator’s house, which appears fine from the outside but is damaged on... (full context)
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...distant. R says that the ventilation is not working and that the electricity is out. The narrator panics, saying that if they can’t get him out, he could starve to death. She... (full context)
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The narrator goes across the street to get tools, and the old man is able to pry... (full context)
Chapter 22 
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...fresh snow covers them. Three days after the ordeal, on a walk near her office, the narrator sees the Inuis—or, more exactly, she sees a set of blue gloves that belonged to... (full context)
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After the earthquake, the old man moves into the narrator ’s house. Though this seems like the most natural solution and the old man is... (full context)
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While the old man and the narrator are cleaning up the house, they encounter something in the basement. The narrator thinks that... (full context)
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Later that night, the narrator is upstairs in the secret room with R and the items. R guesses that the... (full context)
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The narrator is out of breath after recounting this memory in full. R insists that the narrator... (full context)
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Next, R picks up the metal object and brings it to his mouth. The narrator thinks that it looks like a chocolate bar, and that he’ll eat it. But he... (full context)
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Every now and then, R asks the narrator to play a song so that he can be the audience. She is able to... (full context)
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After going over the objects, R and the narrator lay together on the tiny bed in the hidden room. R shares all the memories... (full context)
Chapter 23 
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The next Sunday, the narrator decides she’ll visit her mother’s old cabin, where her mother used to go to sculpt.... (full context)
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...chimney is gone. Mushrooms grow on the moss covering the walls. The old man and the narrator take a brief rest (the Memory Police will know if they are out late), then... (full context)
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Once inside, the narrator and the old man see sculpting tools strewn all over the floor. A beam fell... (full context)
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When they return to the train station, the narrator and the old man realize that everyone there is very anxious. The old man figures... (full context)
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...up letting everyone through with just a glance at their papers. The old man and the narrator make it onto the train back to town with their bags. (full context)
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By the time they make it back to the house, the old man and the narrator are too exhausted to go through the contents of their bags. As they eat dinner... (full context)
Chapter 24 
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Two weeks later, the old man seems like himself again. He, the narrator , and R have still not gone through all of the statues. R waits impatiently... (full context)
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Still, the following Sunday, the narrator and the old man bring the sculptures to the basement and begin taking them apart.... (full context)
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When they finish extracting the objects, the narrator and the old man take the items to R on a tray. R is exuberant... (full context)
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...that everyone’s hearts have been “battered” by the disappearances. He makes an impassioned plea—holding up the narrator ’s manuscript—about how the narrator and the old man still have hearts that are sitting... (full context)
Weeks go by, and the narrator ’s typing skills improve. The old man gives R a much-needed haircut, and Don the... (full context)
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The narrator and the old man keep talking. She thinks how his hands, which she’s known since... (full context)
Chapter 25 
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That night, the narrator gets a call from the hospital saying that the old man collapsed. She runs all... (full context)
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R, of course, is unable to attend the old man’s funeral. The narrator finds that the old man’s death unnerves her. Unlike the deaths of her parents and... (full context)
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The narrator tries to keep it together by cooking elaborate meals for herself and R and by... (full context)
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One night, the narrator is moved to write a few words on the pages of her manuscript on her... (full context)
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Later, the first disappearance since the old man’s death happens. The narrator wakes up and tries to think what it could be this time. She can’t quite... (full context)
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The narrator crawls to her dresser and takes out some clothes. When she goes to put on... (full context)
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The narrator manages to drag herself downstairs and outside. Her neighbors are slowly gathering, wondering how they... (full context)
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Later that night, R massages the narrator ’s disappeared leg. He tries to show her that her leg is still there, but... (full context)
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The narrator and R keep talking. She tells R that soon everything will “fall back into place,”... (full context)
Chapter 26 
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The narrator continues writing. She does not feel as motivated as she did before novels disappeared, but... (full context)
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...are no burning bonfires or objects floating down the river. There are “subtle” changes to the narrator ’s daily life, but she doesn’t think it’s much of a problem. Now, when she... (full context)
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The narrator tells R that one day, she won’t be able to get in and out of... (full context)
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The narrator says that her heart is chilling and hard and will certainly shatter like ice, whereas... (full context)
Chapter 28 
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The narrator puts her pencil down lays her head on her desk. She is completely exhausted. Writing... (full context)
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R tells the narrator he is so pleased she’s finished the manuscript. She tells him that she worries it’s... (full context)
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The narrator realizes she is happy that the old man died before bodies disappeared. But then she... (full context)
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The narrator keeps up her routine. Now, when she goes to see R, she falls down into... (full context)
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Every part of the narrator ’s body disappears eventually. All that is left is her voice. She tells R that... (full context)
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The narrator ’s voice starts to disappear. She tells R that when she is gone, he must... (full context)
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There, alone in the hidden room, the narrator “continues to disappear.” (full context)