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Klara and the Sun

A magnificent novel from the Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro--author of the Booker...
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Discuss the scene at the diner with Helen, Rick, and Vance.

Created: 02/24/22

Replies: 7

Posted Feb. 24, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 10/15/10

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Discuss the scene at the diner with Helen, Rick, and Vance.

Discuss the scene at the diner with Helen, Rick, and Vance. How are these concerns about a child's ability to succeed, and the measures that people will take to alter those outcomes, similar and different from what happens in society now? Were those efforts to win Vance's favor fruitful in the end? What might Rick have been able to do to advance society's dependence on technology had his drone development and other engineering been supported?

Posted Feb. 27, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 10/16/10

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RE: Discuss the scene at the diner with ...

That was certainly one of the more uncomfortable scenes in the novel. I didn't blame Vance at all for feeling used. I'd be in the same boat - how dare you break my heart, ignore me for decades, only to show up when you need a favor? I think he would have ultimately supported Rick, and that it was Rick's choice to walk away from that support. There's no information about how Rick's life ended up, so there's no reason to think he wasn't ultimately successful. Although he wasn't "lifted," he seemed both bright and caring.

Posted Feb. 27, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 05/10/15

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RE: Discuss the scene at the diner with ...

I got the feeling that Vance is Rick’s father or am I way off. I also didn’t blame him for feeling used after such a long absence and no connection with Rick’s Mom.

Posted Feb. 28, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Jessica F

Join Date: 05/23/20

Posts: 156

RE: Discuss the scene at the diner with ...

This was certainly an uncomfortable moment. Helen reminded me of a dramatic 1950's Hollywood star. I can picture her all dressed up with her hand on her forehead, laying on a fainting couch.

It took me a while to figure out what "lifted" meant. I really felt for Rick. He had so much potential, despite not being lifted. Although we don't know what happened in his future, I think he may have gone to the other section of the city where Klara's father lived. I figure that was more of Rick's speed.

Vance had every right to have the reaction he did. I think he would've helped Rick regardless, but I don't think Rick truly wanted to go to that school.

Posted Mar. 01, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 02/26/22

Posts: 46

RE: Discuss the scene at the diner with ...

As that scene played out, I was surprised that Vance even agreed to show up in the first place, except to perhaps get some revenge on Helen (really? after all these years?) Helen comes across as a shallow and vapid person, who was unusually cruel to Vance. I was wondering also if Vance was going to find out that he was Rick father, but that didn't happen. Except for introducing the explanation of what "lifting" is (and this could have easily come in through Paul), I'm still puzzled why this scene (bringing back a very distant past lover) was included in the book, except as another example of how terrible humans are to each other.

Posted Mar. 01, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 10/20/21

Posts: 19

RE: Discuss the scene at the diner with ...

I thought this was one of the scenes that Ishiguro used to not only bring out more of what was happening in society at the time the story was taking place but also to illustrate some of the lows of human nature. I agree with Jessica F's observation that Helen seemed quite the diva in her day focusing only on what she wanted without any concern for the feelings of others. Vance, while perhaps justified, seemed to me petty & vindictive. Both were self-consumed throughout the meeting. Klara's observation of the glaring white interior lights of the diner & the large glass windows coming to a sharp point at the doorway so that one could see inside from all sides made for a perfect metaphor of their personalities being on full display. It's hard to say what kind of a mother Helen has been to Rick but I do feel that most mothers would do what they thought they could to help their children. It sounds like Helen is sincere in trying to do just that even if it is misguided & late. The person I felt the saddest for was Rick. He managed to speak intelligently & humbly despite the embarrassment. I also felt the diner served to highlight the isolation/loneliness that some feel (both Helen & Vance only interacting to get something in return, the waiter ignoring the diners except to take an order, the lone other diner avoiding contact by staring out the window, & Klara ignored in a separate booth).

Posted Mar. 03, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 07/03/18

Posts: 118

RE: Discuss the scene at the diner with ...

The scene at the diner showed, to me at least, how important it was to Helen that her healthy and quite talented son be allowed to work at his full potential. She had treated Vance terribly and knew it. She invited him under false pretenses, hoping he still cared enough to ignore his integrity. Her methods were not that different then some parents today—they will donate large sums of money or otherwise entice admittance to ensure a successful future. Not only did Helen’s attempt not work, she so offended Vance as to make him an enemy. I do believe Rick could have had great success not only by increasing dependence on technology but by continuing the dehumanization process. Again, my opinion.

Posted Mar. 04, 2022 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert

Join Date: 05/16/21

Posts: 18

RE: Discuss the scene at the diner with ...

I agree with the other respondents. It was one of the most uncomfortable scenes in the book. Vance had been poorly treated by Helen and knew he was being used. His anger was understandable. However, he should have listened to Rick and saved his anger for a private discussion with Helen. I felt very sorry for Rick because he was extremely embarrassed and disappointed. I also had the feeling that he might be Rick's real father. Helen was clearly an unstable person, who put her son through a lot of distress. This was illustrated earlier in the book through her various interactions with Rick and Klara. A parent helping a child through bribery and coercion happens today in our world as well, and not all parents who do this are unstable. I'm not sure what Rick could have done to promote his invention. Ishiguro gives very few details regarding the society that these characters live in, so it is unclear to me how much opportunity Rick would have given that he was not "lifted." It is really apparently that there is a strict class system (lifted vs. non-lifted). Also, it was mentioned briefly that AFs and AIs were replacing humans in various jobs.


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