gwl study guide - Gwl study guide Artist of the Floating...

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Gwl study guide Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro Masuji Ono is an unreliable narrator who walks the reader through his life. He had a highly esteemed reputation as a painter and patriot; held in high regard by his students and the community before and during the war though he claims he didn’t care or notice his reputation but this becomes untrue throughout the book. Masuji is proud of his past and says he has nothing to hide but there are many inconsistencies in his story; is he delusional, lying, is his memory failing or is he fooling himself and if so what is he hiding? His family is in crucial phase of marriage negotiations for Noriko so there are background checks of the family happening. There is unacknowledged anxiety around this process; Setzuko is indirect, polite and traditional in her communication style whilst Noriko is openly rude and dismissive to her father. This indicates two things to the reader; 1. What are the daughters worried about that Ono doesn’t realize or doesn’t think is a big deal and 2. The hatred the new generation holds against the old. The new generation (Setzuko, Noriko & Ichiro) favors Americanization. Ichiro pretends to be American heroes instead of traditional Japanese heroes. Taro (Noriko’s husband) is proud of his companies overhaul (“new leaders with a new approach appropriate to the world of today”) but Masuji challenges this (“too hasty in following the Americans”/”good things are being thrown out”/”japan like small child learning from a strange adult”). Taro says, “But by and large, the Americans have an immense amount to teach us”/ “the lessons of these past years have been good ones and will lead us all on to a splendid future”. During the marriage negotiations, Setsuko told Masuji to ‘take precautionary steps’. Before this Masuji saw his career, past and involvement in the war as a point of pride and didn’t think he did anything wrong but this statement made Masuji reconsider and try to amend his past. He announced he may have made some mistakes and the family was worried he would commit suicide like others who were involved in the war. Matsuda said “army officers, politicians, businessmen have all been blamed for what happened to this country. But as for the likes of us, Ono, our contribution was always marginal. No one cares now what the likes of you and me once did.” In the end, Masuji views the current city and the young generation “with genuine gladness. Our nation, it seems, whatever mistakes it may have made in the past, has now another chance to make a better go of things. One can only wish the young people well.” Characters: be able to list scenes they are in Masuji Ono: Narrator. Artist who created propaganda during the war, his opinion of himself and his work changes throughout the novel; Proud/Sees nothing wrong then regretful and apologizes then realizes he was doing what he
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