Memories of a Floating World by Ishiguro Analysis

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Memoriesof a Floating World

In the book, “An Artist of the Floating World,” the author emphasizes the importance of memory. Ishiguro asks many fascinating questions and gives many answers on this idea. Some of the questions he asks are how do people remember the past. How do they revise it, as they go over events? Are our memories reliable? Can our memories give us an accurate picture of ourselves? All these questions and answers Ishiguro brings to our attention to show us the importance of memory.

To answer the first question, “How do people change the past in their memories?” Let us go back to a scene on page seventy-two, where it shows Ono reminiscing on his discussion with Tortoise on leaving Takeda. Ono says, “These, of course, may not have been the precise words I used that afternoon at the Tamagawa temple, for I have had the cause to recount this particular scene many times before, and it is inevitable that with repeated telling, such accounts begin to take on a life of their own.” You may have experienced this with yourself or with other people, the more a story is told, the more minor changes creep in, and after some time the story may be quite different then what it was originally. Thus, the answer to our question is people may change their memories by retelling them and slightly changing them as time goes on.

The second question we have is are our memories reliable? To answer this question I want to go back to two scenes from the book. This first one is on page fifty-four where Ono says, “I can barely recall what had taken place just a week afterward…” What Ono is basically telling us is that our memories are selective; we remember somethings yet we forget others. The second scene I remember is on page one hundred and seventy-seven. Here Ono is quoting his old teacher Mori-san as saying, “You seem to be exploring curious avenues.” After quoting this Ono goes on to say, “It occurs to me that expression was one I myself tended to use...