Ishiguro - a family supper

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  • Publicado : 19 de octubre de 2010
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The Last Supper
Family is the most important thing in the life of any person of average family values. There has always been the saying about there being no instruction manual to be a parent, but the vast majority of parents dedicate a great deal of effort towards educating their children and making sure their values and beliefs are kept. This thought, however, is a naïve way of thinking. Oneknows that a person’s world, influences their beliefs and personalities more so than parents’ teachings. This tends to bring about change in the siblings and consequently great deception to parents making them feel that they failed at their task. However, is that enough reason to want to murder one’s family? In “A Family Supper” by Kazuo Ishiguro the father assassinates his family by feeding themfugu, the same fish that ended his wife’s life, due to the great disappointment caused by his children adopting western culture that went against his own traditional eastern culture.
Ishiguro does a great job in convincing the reader that the father is going to murder the whole family as soon as the story begins. Within the first paragraph one is introduced with the circumstances that led to themother’s death with the narrator stating, “the fish has held a special significance for me ever since my mother died through eating one” (567). This sentence immediately foreshadows the dramatic ending of the story. In his review of the story, Wai-chew also feels the same way and states, “several things suggest that a seemingly innocuous event is about to go badly wrong” (1). Furthermore, in thearticle “Ishiguro’s Floating Worlds” by Rebecca Walkowitzs the reader is informed that “since Ishiguro’s name sounds Japanese…since he seems to know about Japanese rituals and describe them as much as one who has been living far from home, perhaps in California, readers can imagine that “A Family Supper,” and it’s story…is true” (3). One can soon become aware that the father’s relationship with thenarrator and Kikuko, the daughter, is very tense and seems to make them both very nervous and inhibited. One can also perceive that the father is capable of great rage since he used to smack the narrator several times around the head for only “chattering like an old woman” (568). Since the relationship the narrator had with his parents “had become very strained around that period,” (567) he doesn’tbecome aware of the mother’s death until two year’s later. In most cultures, the death of a person in one’s nuclear family is not held under any circumstances; no matter how strained of a relationship one may have had with his/her parents. The fact that the father does not inform the narrator of this event also leads one to believe that the father is very resentful and does not forgive easily.Moreover, one is told that the father is very “proud of the samurai blood that ran in the family” (567), hence proving to the reader that he lives his life according to the samurai code of ethics and values and he is capable of committing suicide rather than feeling defeated.
Next, one is introduced with the story of Watanabe, the father’s business partner of seventeen years who “after the firmcollapsed, killed himself. He didn’t wish to live with the disgrace” (568). Then the father also mentions several times throughout the story that Watanabe was “a man of principle and honor. I respected him very much” (568), therefore proving once more that he approves of his friend’s actions which he would repeat himself. After this set of events and conversations between the father and thenarrator, one is also introduced to the father’s disapproval of foreigners “doing things their way. I don’t understand how we’ve come to this” (568). This proves his own disappointment with the narrator who left his native Japan for the U.S. and now in his eyes also considered a foreigner. Later in the story we find out that Kikuko and the narrator have a very close relationship, contrary to the one...
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