It is said that distance changes everything.
It changes the people, their point of view, the way they see the world. Because of that distance is a dangerous thing. People who are living far away from their countries and families start to forget memorable times. It’s not their fault because as the time passes they start to get used to their new lifestyle.
When they start to get used to their new lifestyle, their traditions begin to sink into oblivion. That kind of instances can be seen in Kazuo Ishiguro’s “A family supper” (1983) and slightly in Mark Villarosa “The Dash A.E” short story.The story “A family supper” by Kazuo Ishiguro is a worrying tense supper involving a young Japanese man who has left his family for a new life in the USA.”A family supper” is a short story that tells of a young man visiting from his father’s home in Japan. He comes home for dinner that night and relives unfortunate and difficult memories from his childhood. The young man’s mother had a gruesome death from eating a poisonous fish called fugu and left her husband, son, and daughter, alone.
The son’s father, a WWII veteran, is still fully grieving the death of his wife. The story is told through conversation and shared memories between the son and his father and sister. The family is quite solemn and only the daughter expresses any sign of vividness or spirit when the son comes home; she is often giggling around her brother. When dinner is prepared, there is much silence as the father continues to dish out food, a fish meal, to his kids. After being alone for much of his life, the father has withered away, losing his job and work friend as well. Watanabe killed himself and his family as the son learns from his sister after their father’s company goes under. It is to be assumed that the fish they are eating, or rather the fish their father is feeding them, is the dangerous fugu. However, the fish is most likely not the deadly fugu and Ishiguro implemented the false fish as foreshadowing to the family’s life in the future, continuing on alone and melancholy instead of ending family ties now.
“The Dash A.E” short story by Mark Villarosa is a rewrite of “The Flash -Duet” season 3 episode 17, where Dash and Dupergirl fell in love by cause of their exes had separated with them at home. The short story is about the superheroes Dash and Dupergirl who ended up in another universe, nothing like their own. In this universe, their superpowers aren’t working like they supposed to and in consequence, when they tried to stop a gang fight they got shot in the chest and ended up in the hospital. During this time at the hospital and in this alternate universe they started to bond progressively.
Thereafter when they finally got rescued by Mon-el, Dupergirls ex-boyfriend, and Sarah, Dash’s ex-fiancé, everything was still the same as it was before they left. Although they have separated from their partners, Dash and Dupergirl have started to hang out more and Cisco notices that something isn’t right due to Dash avoiding Cisco’s questions. He, therefore, grabbed the shoulder of Dash and vibed the future to see if something good or bad has changed and it did. Cisco saw that Dash and Dupergirl are in a relationship and doing intimate stuff. Once Dash noticed what Cisco was doing to him he ran away to prevent Cisco from vibing further.
In Ishiguro’s “A family supper” and Villarosa’s “The Dash A.E” we can see a connection of alienation but in a diverse way. In “A family supper” a youth goes abroad for education and in “The Dash A.E” we see two superheroes entering an alternate universe where their loved ones are not involved. In that process, it is observed that they are completely alienated themselves from either their culture, heritage or, generally speaking, their loved ones. The reason for this alienation, in my opinion, is the distance. Reunion does not cover up the time they have wasted. That is because the distance is more brutal than the time.
Effects of distance on culture and heritage are more visible in “A family supper” than in “The Dash A.E” (due to the writer Kazuo Ishiguro spent more time on the story than Mark did on his and he is a professional). Kazuo Ishiguro is a Japanese writer and he reflects his own culture in his short story. For instance, he mentions ‘kimono’ and ‘importance of honor’. It is well-known fact that Japanese people give high importance to honor, tradition and family integrity.
Their priorities are much more different than westerners. The protagonist of the story is a young boy who moves to California for his education. He is not a stereotype Japanese brother and family member.
For instance, he does not care for the family integrity like other Japanese people do. He may have lost this quality in America. The distance between America and his motherland makes him indifferent to his traditions and his family. Father is also another important character in this story. Because of the father we see a cultural difference that distance creates sharply. Father is a stereotype Japanese family number. He is a conservative and honorable man and family integrity is the most important thing for him. For instance, he wants to have dinner when all family members are present.
He prefers to die if he is going to live in a bad reputation. Case in point, he says ‘After the firms collapsed, Watanabe killed himself. He didn’t wish to live with the disgrace.’ Later he says ‘A man of principle and honor. I respected him very much’ for his partner’s suicide. This quote clearly shows his devotion in honor. He cannot stand disappointment as well.
However, his son is indifferent to that kind of things. He is just living his life without caring about Japanese principles. He does not think that family honor is the most important thing in the world. He can live without that but his father cannot. Through the end of the story, it becomes clear that the father and the son have different expectations. Because of family integrity, which is so important in Japanese culture, the father wants his son to live in Japan but his son does not want to live in a place full of strict principles. In “The Dash” it’s not that noticeable.
As a reader, you really have to read between the lines to fully understand whats happening. Dash and Dupergirl recently have broken up with their partner. Thereafter Cisco said when he vibed Dash’s future ‘..
.first thing Cisco saw was Harry being ecstatic, like never before, for the first in forever’. This quote shows that before he was in the alternate universe Dash was unhappy and depressed. We can, therefore, see a clear idea of what alienation really is. As I initially wrote, distance changes everything. It could be the person’s behavior, lifestyle or various traditions. In both stories it is clear that it is distance, being miles away from the home country that makes characters alienated to their culture, family and even their friends.
Being alienated is a little difficult to interpret, but it can, among other things mean that you are feeling removed from established values, as in the story “A family supper” or feeling in general isolated or meaninglessness, slightly noticeable in “The Dash”.