A Family Supper - Essay

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Kazuo Ishiguro: A Family Supper
Kazuo Ishiguro’s short story, “A Family Supper” is a moving and mysterious story about a son’s visit to his homeland to visit his father and sister. When we are introduced to the father, he is at home with his son drinking tea. It has been two years since the death of his wife. For at least some of that time, the father has been living alone in a large, and mostly empty house. The father is intimidating. Physically, he is described as a “formidable-looking man with a large stony jaw and furious black eyebrows” (198, p.4). His intimidation is reinforced by his communication and gruff answers to questions and “his odd way of stating each remark as if it were the concluding one” (198, p.4). The narrator recalls a memory of his father’s fury and dislike for long talks, when he is hit as a child for ‘chattering like an old woman’ (198, p.4). The father is very Japanese. We learn he is proud of his ‘Samurai blood.’ (198, paragraph beginning “My father”.) The father is also not open to change and outsiders. This is seen when he describes why he doesn’t want to go back into the business. “Dealing with foreigners. Doing things their way. I don’t understand how we’ve come to this” (198, last paragraph). He blames the foreigners for the closing of his firm and for persuading his son to leave for America. “You were swayed by certain – influences. Like so many others.” (top of pg 199) As the father takes the son through the house, he seems as empty as the rooms they pass. He has no work, no wife, and his children have left him. The only room that seems to have life in it is the one filled with papers and books. Here the son notices a plastic model of a battleship. The father explains it is like the one he was on during the war, although his ambition was always the air force – but for a strange reason. “If your ship was struck by the enemy, all you could do was struggle in the water hoping...
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