Dystopia in Never Let Me Go (genre 2)

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  • Dystopia in NLMG
    • Rebellion and conforming
      • Few people are a revolutionary
        • Feudal system and belief in GCB from the Middle Ages dictates we have a fixed place in society which can't be changed
      • Fusion of the Eastern acceptance of fate (philosophical) and English acceptance of death (inevitable)
      • Characters accept cruelty as it is normal and they have no alternative whereas readers are less inclined to accept.
        • Fact they can't rebel puts treatment of clones on par with the Holocaust. Both treat the helpless as subhuman
        • gives novel an elegiac sense of hopelessness
        • E.g deferrals and Tommy taking pride in performance as a donor
        • Readers can only guess at fate of clones who try to escape and how easy it would be to escape
          • Maybe the "terrible accidents" which Miss Lucy describes pg 77
          • Medical tests which test when their medically fit to lose the next part of themselves could also serve to keep track of where they are
      • The Social Contract
        • Idea created by Thomas Hobbes
        • We give up some of our personal freedoms in exchange for a guarantee that the person who runs our country will have our physical safety as their prime concern
        • When the Social Contract breaks, we enter "summum malum" (the greatest evil)
          • continual fear of death and life is solitary, poor, brutish and short, hence being unable to be productive in our life
            • Carers are solitary
              • K visits department stores where "you can hang around and enjoy yourself"
            • Carers are poor
              • K has a bedsit and car but no salary and luxury
            • Carers lives are short
            • Carers face brutish fate in operating room
        • Philosophy which has led Miss Emily to run Hailsham in her way
      • Writers interested in plight of most powerless members of society
      • Lack of happy ending reinforces argument that authoritarianism, once indulged, is impossible to put out
        • Goes against idea implicit in each of the 7 basic story types  that the world will have undergone restoration by end of story
    • Set in late 1990s
      • Time of government by liberal democracy (human rights respected)
      • Viscount Hailsham, prominent British politician during 60s-80s
        • said we live “under an elective dictatorship”
          • Government free to pass any laws when elected.  governments will neglect the rights/interests of minorities, and will be free to pursue an ideological agenda.
      • Against markers of a dystopia, like K not rebelling
        • Concept of novel seems more realistic as the setting and trends (walkmans) are recognizable, and hence more horrifying
          • Like a parallel universe, mirroring idea of parallel lives of their possibles
    • What questions are the readers left with?
      • Do we treat farm animals properly?
        • Farm animals treated more humanely as they don't know they're living under an extended death sentence
      • What regulations should apply to the donation of human organs?
        • Link to scandal regarding retention or organs for human transplant at Alder Hey Hospital from 1988-95 which led to the Human Tissue Act of 2004
      • Why do we tend to forget ethics when issues of life and death arise?
      • Why are we opposed to giving life to someone with potential to replace us in the genetic hierarchy and not to situations like the characters are in?
      • Which donations can we survive?
      • Can a society which leaves its most vulnerable members to die be called a society at all?


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