Independent Novel Study
In Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro the major themes in this book is hope, and free will. Hope plays as a symbol and feeling of freedom for the characters. Their curiosity is what causes their confidence to one day be free, but then is let down when having to face the truth that their life is set for them and that they must accept it. Free will is shown that clones are unable to change their fates as organ donors, but their lack of free will affects many other elements of their lives as well. For example, Ruth never achieves her dream of working in an office, and Kathy gets precious little time with Tommy. Ishiguro is ambiguous about where this lack of free will comes from because Ruth never tries to work in an office, we never learn whether her unhappy life is due to the system or her own lack of initiative. In this novel hope plays a critical role in giving a conflict between the characters and reality. Ishiguro's outlook on hope is highly conflicted. Hope creates the characters to feel better and allows them to live decent lives (“I suppose it was mainly us newcomers who talked about dream futures that winter” pg 142). The students and veterans are happier at the Cottages because they have the idea that they can apply for deferrals if they wish (“So as Long you could convince them. So long as you qualified” pg 153). Later on in the book it is clarified that this
was a rumor that Miss Emily a guardian at Hailsham allowed this rumor to exist because it give them hope. (“It’s something for them to dream about, a little fantasy” pg 258) In the novel's world, hope only comes from falsehoods and delusion which represented by their childhood growing up not knowing anything about their future lives. Conflict is also created by the characters themselves. Ruth who feels guilt towards the end confesses and tells Kathy that she is sorry for keeping apart her and Tommy. And from that Kathy's hope that she will be with Tommy is illusive hope is offered by the imagined deferral program. Ishiguro plans the conflicts all in right places because Kathy cannot be with Tommy forever because of the false rumor and the multiple donations he has to go through which in the end he dies. In the book Ishiguro creates conflicts that seem able to be conceded but then in the end it is followed by another that makes this book so interesting.
Symbolism is shown from time to time in the book. Hailsham is a symbol of innocence. Loss of innocence parallels the destruction of Hailsham because Ruth wants to preserve memories of innocence so she doesn’t look for it (“But as I say , I don’t go searching for it… I’ll have Hailsham with me , safety in my head, and that’ll be something on one can take away.” Pg 286) In one particular moment in the book that shows symbolism is the boat they visit when they reunite after a long period of time they haven’t seen each other. The dialogue in the scene suggests that the characters are catching a glimpse of their impending deaths, which they are fascinated by but don’t want to confront for too long. (“We were surrounded by silence and when we started to move towards the boat... I noticed my feet sinking beneath the turfs of grass” Yang 3
pg 224). The boat is an imagery that also reflects the motifs of helplessness and loneliness as this represents Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy because for the most part they have talk to as they live in really exclude lives. They cannot do anything that can support them get out of what has already planned for them which shows helplessness and the theme of lack of free will. Also like the donors, the boat seems to have been forgotten by society, and its origin is a mystery. They can compare to each other because Miss Emily also tells them later on in the book that originally society wanted forget the clones of children to be donors. The boat and water are associated with freedom, and that’s just what Kathy and they hope for but since being...
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