Hopeless Free Will

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Hopeless Free Will

The question of what it means to be human has been asked by not only famous philosophers of old, but by anyone who struggles to define what it means. Ishiguro conveys this very same question in his novel Never Let Me Go. Ishiguro demonstrates that in spite of the shared physical qualities of humans, the students undeniably have lives unprotected of human virtues like free will and a hope for change. Regardless of their forfeited human virtues and the questions of morality surrounding their existence, the students are designed for a specific purpose, to be organ donors.

To be human, most would suggest one must possess a mind, heart and will. The mind of humans allow for rational thoughts, not instincts like animals. The heart allows a human to feel the consciousness of the human experience, unlike a robot or other forms of artificial intelligence. The will endows a human to make decisions or choices that have either constructive or adverse consequences. In this capacity for action, one can select “this” over “that” and “those” instead of “these”. Unfortunately, the students have no free will to choose “this” over “that” and “those” over “these” in regards to their lives and how to live it, despite possessing the human characteristics of a mind, heart and will. Their destinies were chosen for them long before air filled their human lungs. It is a life well-ordered with a specific purpose independent of their will or wishes. The inherent freedom of choice most humans have was never fully given to the students, except to choose a sex partner. Their willingness to accept, without question, the rules surrounding their lives starts at Hailsham and continues throughout the novel. For example, while at Hailsham they are told by the guardians not to leave school grounds and to stay healthy, they do not know why and never questions anyone as to why. Leona Toker and Daniel Chertoff write, “Indeed, they appear to be incapable of...
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