When his father picks him up from the airport, he finally begins to provide the narrator with these details. During the car ride, the narrator learns that his mother did not regularly eat fugu, which is fatal if prepared improperly, but she ate it on that particular occasion because she did not want to offend a friend who was serving it to her for dinner. The revelation that it has taken two years for the narrator to learn what really happened to his mother serves as particularly clear evidence of the lack of open communication in his family. The opening passages of the book also demonstrate that the short story takes place at some point after World War II, at a time in which young Japanese citizens can more easily relocate to the U. This timeline informs many of the cultural and intergenerational conflicts present in the narrative to come. Active Themes The narrator describes his father as a stoic man who is difficult to converse with.
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When Kikuko joins them, the father goes off to prepare the supper, leaving the brother and sister to take a stroll in the garden together where Kikuko talks about her life at university. They also recall their childhood fears of the ghost the son believes to have seen in the garden once. Before dinner, the father decides to show his son around the house.
While they are eating, the son confuses a picture of his mother with the appearance of the garden ghost he remembers, which angers his father. The short story closes with the father inviting his son to come home again and confiding his hopes that his daughter may return home too.
On the surface, this short story may appear shallow, perhaps even slightly confusing. The reader, however, can rest assured that Ishiguro intended to draw attention to specific themes and has therefore charged seemingly random statements with meaning to convey these themes. Moreover, every reader is, to a certain, extent aware of the atmosphere the story creates and also receptive to a specific impression of the characters.
It is, therefore, advisable to reflect upon the different constituents of a short story more closely, in order to understand the story more clearly and to appreciate how Ishiguro succeeds in conveying these impressions. To begin with, in the attempt to create a specific atmosphere, the author of a short story can rely on the appearance of the setting to be an effective supplement to the narrative.
The reader can therefore assume with some certainty that Ishiguro intended to communicate a particular ambience in portraying the setting as he did. The story plays in a Japanese family. When they arrive at the house, it is near dusk. The reader will notice that this background image of fading daylight serves as the basis for a story line in which shadows as well as dimly lit rooms add to an atmosphere of mystery. For it is not only the garden, which becomes ever darker, thus supporting the mystery around the ghost, only to fall into complete darkness at the end of the story pp1.
This may be further encouraged by the fact that one room is crammed full of belongings p. In trying to understand how Ishiguro succeeds in communicating his narrative effectively, the thorough reader needs to give thought to the point of view from which the story is narrated, and to which effect this leads. A Family Supper is narrated from the point of view of the son, and can be classified, therefore, as a 1st person narration since the son is a participant in the action. As a result, the information the reader receives is not only limited to the knowledge the son has, but also to the particular focus of attention the son opts for.
The description of his father can consequently not be regarded as objective pp. Nor can we be sure that he and his sister were in fact close as children, as he says, or whether his personal impression is false p. The choice of narrator is crucial to the development of plot in this story. Hence, the question whether the father serves his family Fugu or not remains more or less unanswered, as the 1st person narrator cannot provide this information.
As a short story is characterized by its brief span of narrative time, among other features, the author of a short story is faced with the difficulty of having to develop the plot in a very short time.
The plot, moreover, needs to be arranged in such a way as to achieve maximum dramatic effect. The major contributing factor to this is to be found in the information the reader receives in the exposition. Ishiguro uses the subsequent scenes of rising action to communicate a specific picture of his characters to the reader.
Ishiguro thereby alludes to the exposition again and again. The phase of rising action experiences one last jolt when the son believes to recognize his deceased mother in the ghost he saw as a little child p. The story reaches its climax when the father offers the fish dish as the final course. Undoubtedly, every reader is aware of the immense tension Ishiguro has managed to contrive in this scene.
In addition, the extremely laconic statements concerning the fish uttered by the father and the son p. Inevitably, the reader wonders whether the father is poisoning his family. However, it is doubtful whether the characters in the story experience this climax in the same way as the reader. For the reader regards the action from a more totalitarian point of view and the interpretation of the climax is therefore influenced by additional information such as given in the exposition or the setting.
The characters, on the other hand, live, as it were, in the moment and are not manipulated in the way the reader is. Their behaviour does not give the impression they fear they are being poisoned. It can thus be argued that the story experiences a second climax: confused by his childhood memory of the ghost, the son does recognize his mother on picture p.
Analysis of Kazuo Ishiguro’s "A Family Supper"
He comes home for dinner that night and relives unfortunate and difficult memories from his childhood. The story is told through conversation and shared memories between the son and his father and sister. The family is quite solemn and only the daughter expresses any sign of vividness or spirit when the son comes home; she is often giggling around her brother. As children, the son and daughter would visit the well after the son had visions of an apparition appearing on the edge of the woods, looking toward the house past the well. When the siblings go back to the well, they joke about the spirit an older woman in a white kimono , but the son still swears he had a vision many years ago. When dinner is prepared, there is much silence as the father continues to dish out food, a fish meal, to his kids.
Early life[ edit ] Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki , Japan, on 8 November , the son of Shizuo Ishiguro, a physical oceanographer , and his wife Shizuko. Please help improve the article by presenting facts as a neutrally worded summary with appropriate citations. Consider transferring direct quotations to Wikiquote. December Ishiguro set his first two novels in Japan; however, in several interviews, he said that he has little familiarity with Japanese writing and that his works bear little resemblance to Japanese fiction. My parents I do have a distinct background. I think differently, my perspectives are slightly different.