notes on the themes 'otherness' and humanity in Never Let Me Go

Very detailed notes on certain themes in Never Let Me Go. fit the new AQA specification for English Literature (first examinations in 2017)

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Preview of notes on the themes 'otherness' and humanity in Never Let Me Go

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Never Let Me Go ­ Kazuo Ishiguro ­ year 10
Part 1: Key Passages
Beginning of novel:
First impressions of Kathy are her thoughtfulness/ genuineness, immediately sharing her thoughts about
herself with the reader.
understanding of `donors' slowly starts to develop. At first, word is ambiguous but is soon revealed to
be of much bigger significance in this story than in our own lives.
`he [donor] wasn't going to make it'
Kathy clearly enjoys talking about Hailsham + recalling memories from her time there. School well
known as an idyllic place (also unique and special place ­ not told why). Her focus on Hailsham
highlights its importance to her
`Madame' incident:
We see students begin to sense, even at this relatively young age that they're different from the people
`outside' as they believe Madame is afraid of them.
`She's scared of us' (33)
Incident is defining moment in girls' lives. Madame's almost physical fear of being near the student
produces palpable feeling of inferiority among girls
`the real dread that one of us would accidentally brush against her'
girls express human like emotions = emotive for reader as we see how despite that their marked off for
a different kind of life, to them, their lives are more than worth living
However they are treated as if their dignity is of no importance ­ this incident is the first time they begin
to come to terms with this.
` Hannah looked ready to burst into tears'
`we were just at that age when we knew a few things about ourselves ­ about who we were, how we
were different from our guardians, from the people outside'
`waiting for the moment when you realise that you really are different to them'
Tape incident:
When Kathy imagines what the songs about, she imagines there's a woman who's been told she cannot
have a baby who had desperately wanted one. I think that Kathy, without realizing, creates a woman
whose feelings mirror her own. She is the one who really wants a child, yet pretends that this need is not
there by imagining a woman who isn't her.
`Baby, baby, never let me go...' (70)
`what I'd imagine was a woman who'd been told she couldn't have babies, who'd really, really wanted
them all her life. Then there's a sort of miracle and she has a baby' (70)
Also imagines herself holding her baby tightly ­ shows Kathy is imagining herself in `a better life', one
of a normal human not a clone.
further shows Kathy's humanity rather than otherness as it is a common trait in humans that we

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­ however they never slip from
our mind
in this case Kathy's humanity is exemplified
+ many humans reading this will be able to relate with how Kathy is dealing with her emotions,
therefore realizing they have more in common with Kathy than they once presumed.
HUMANITY PROVEN when Madame (a human) is crying at what she sees. Could come across that
Madame is sobbing as she understands why Kathy may be doing this, showing an underlying, subtle
connection between the two.…read more

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Never Let Me Go differs from many other dystopian novels, as usually we would see the characters
rebel and try to seek freedom. However, the fact that they barely have anything to say on the subject
shows that these `clones' are a lot less humanlike than they come across at other points in the novel. In
this case, Ishiguro has shown their otherness perfectly.…read more


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