Memory Police Short Essay - Answer Key

Yoko Ogawa
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1. Explain the first line of the novel, which states, "I sometimes wonder what was disappeared first---among all the things that have vanished from the island" (3).

In the novel's first line, the protagonist and unnamed narrator of the novel refers to the central tenet in her totalitarian island society's source of control. When a particular object is declared to have been "disappeared," (3) all traces of those objects are totally eradicated.

2. What type of artist was the unnamed narrator's mother and why is this detail significant?

The narrator's mother was a sculptor, which explains in part why she had understood the inherent value of physical objects so deeply. It was her passion for the physical form that drove her compulsion to defy the Memory Police by keeping objects that had long ago been disappeared from the island.

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