Klara and the Sun is one of the masterpieces of Kazuo Ishiguro depicting the patterns of the changing world while exploring the true meaning of love. The novel is based upon dystopian science fiction, the story revolves around the views of the first-person narrator, Klara, the novel’s main protagonist. She is an android developed to function as an artificial friend resembling a humanoid machine who is distinguished by her observational and learning skills.
Apart from her, there are 29 characters in the story and all of them are divided into six sections. Josie is a fourteen-year-old sick girl who has had artificial gene editing for better academic performance. Josie’s mother is Chrissy and they belong to a lifted household. Moreover, Caroline is the Artificial Friend (AF) customer. Other main characters include the “Manager” who is an AF seller, the “beggar” at the RPO building, and the “Rosa” who is Klara’s companion and one of the Artificial Friends.
Kazuo Ishiguro has used a science fictional lens to deeply explain how humans interact and connect and has also tried to analyze the loneliness, isolation, and emotional behavior of humans. Mentioning that, the writer has also shed light on different strata of the society and has beautifully penned the lives of people in different segments of the society. The novel explores the ways society works for people with and without money.
The differences not only arise from the standard of living, education, and better prospects, but cognitive abilities also differ amongst people of different classes. This can be linked directly to the life of Rick and his mother, they live a taxing life by being underprivileged. The writer introduced the concept of an Artificial Friend by indicating that wealthy families spend more on their children to enhance their academic performance and increase employment prospects.
For this reason, they can afford to buy a humanoid machine to accompany their children. Josie belongs to the “lifted” class of society and can easily afford to buy Klara. However, Klara is different from other humanoids as she can adapt to the external environment which makes her uniquely observant. She analyzes emotional behavior and cues, thus, quickly learned the spatial setting and configuration of Josie’s home.
One day Josie met Klara with one of her best friends, Rick, who is her neighbor as well. Rick’s family is the only household in the neighborhood that is only “unlifted” and lacks facilities like those of “lifted” families. The story reaches to climax when Josie found out that her older sister died of the same illness she has which deeply saddened her. With each passing day, Josie’s health deteriorates and she got sicker than before. The story reaches to end while showing Klara’s efforts to save Josie.
In the meantime, Klara learns the truth about the portrait at Mr. Capaldi’s studio. She got to know the purpose of her in the family i.e. Josie’s portrait is a 3D AF model of her. Chrissy and Mr. Capaldi have long before planned to transfer Klara’s consciousness to the model of Josie in the event of her death and Klara will then continue to live as Josie. Lastly, after Klara prays to the sun for Josie’s wellness and after days of rain the sun came out and Josie started feeling better.
Klara and the sun signifies human insecurities, life changes, and fear of death that humans have in them passing forward by every generation. However, a new prospect that the writer has emphasized is the technological intervention that has helped humans of today’s era to overcome their physical, emotional, and mental challenges. The novel indicates the relationship between humans, technology, and fast pace growing Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The writer denotes the upcoming future where the laborers would be substituted by robots and children would be re-engineered through the process of “lifting”. The unlifted would be singled out and would suffer due to cognitive differences in the new technological era. However, with scientific evidence and technological advancement, the writer has also emphasized and balanced out the role of faith and human inclination towards it.
As AF is powered through solar energy and greatly depends on its activity on the sun, Klara viewed the sun as omnipotent energy and a force that has the authority and power to heal human illness. Her perception built her belief and hence a strong faith in the sun. Her belief made her pray for Josie’s heath before the sun. On the other hand, the results also came out to be fruitful and Josie started regaining health.
The underlying meaning of the novel is multidimensional and covers different aspects. On one side the author has mentioned the differences of class-based society and on the other, the author has explained the dependence of human behavior on technology. Hence, forming an interdependent relationship.
Moreover, he has portrayed that with technological advancement humans need to get in touch with their core i.e. their faith to overcome the challenges of life. lastly, the book is also intended to show what it means to love a person with a strong will and desire. The naivety of Klara has put great strength to the entire novel as she continued to stay close to Josie and take care of her.