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Never Let Me Go Plot Essay

In a small school called Hailsham placed in England in the 1990’s, Kathy, a student from years back is looking in search of Hailsham after a few years of it being shut down. Kathy has reminisce of Tommy; a strong-willed boy who was the best football player at the time, threw tantrums and wore a special polo shirt as good luck. She also had reminisce of her times at Hailsham and the events that had taken place there. When Kathy was a student, everyone who attended was examined weekly in Room 18 by a nurse who everyone nicknamed Crow Face. Kathy and the other students learned about “exchanges” which took place four times a year; once in the spring, summer, autumn, and winter. How you were regarded at Hailsham was based on how well you were at creating. These creations that students made were part of the exchange and students would buy work done by other students in your own year. When students bought your creations, this would get you tokens and you could buy other creations from class mates. Tommy is a shy child who is not very creative. In Miss Geraldine’s class is where most of the students make their creations. Tommy made a kid-like creation of an elephant painting and Miss Geraldine praised Tommy for his uniqueness.

After Tommy stopped throwing his tantrums during school he stopped getting made fun of. The woman, who ran Hailsham, went by the name of Madame. She was a tall, French, narrow, short haired and distant from the children. Miss Emily was one of the students’ favorite teachers. She was older, stood straight, had silvery hair that she wore back; quiet, deliberate voice, and made fair decisions. In Miss Emily’s and Miss Lucy’s class, the students talked about the token controversy over Madame taking work and paying the students with tokens. Eventually the issue got resolved and tokens were given to the students. Polly, a student from the same year as Kathy and Tommy, asked Miss Lucy why Madame took their creations. Miss Lucy replied, “All I can tell you today is that it’s for a good reason. A very important reason. But if I tried to explain it to you now, I don’t think you’d understand. One day, I hope, it’ll be explained to you” (Ishiguro 40). Once a month there would be “Sales”. A large van would bring toys and outdated items from the outside of the Hailsham gates and students could use their tokens to buy items of their preference.

Every morning there was an assembly before school, except on the days that there were Sales because there would be announcements. Junior year, Kathy became acquainted with Ruth. Kathy and Ruth played in the sandbox together and eventually Ruth began to let Kathy play with her horses. Ruth questioned Kathy about if she liked Miss Geraldine and Kathy said that she did. Ruth then said, “All right. In that case, I’ll let you be one of her secret guards” (Ishiguro 48). Ruth tells Kathy that there are 6-10 secret guards and they make presents for Miss Geraldine and guard her from being kidnapped. Ruth said Miss Geraldine gave her the pencil case that she has now. Kathy looks back into the files of the sales to see if Ruth is lying. In art class another student had asked about Ruth’s pencil case and Kathy backed her up. In Miss Emily’s classroom she talked about England and a place called Norfolk which was known as a “lost corner.”

Kathy lost her beloved tape of ‘Songs after Dark’ by Judy Bridgewater at which she found at a Sale. The cover of the cassette tape was not appropriate for Hailsham because the guardians were very strict on smoking. On the tape, track number three was Kathy’s favorite song; “Never Let Me Go.” One day Kathy was listening to her favorite track on the cassette and was dancing around like she was holding a baby, Madame walked by her room and saw the door open and Kathy dancing. Madame began to weep and the tape went missing a few months after this incident. All school attendees cannot have babies. Ruth hunted for the lost tape, but was incapable of finding it and instead bought a tape with ballroom music on it to make Kathy feel better. On a gloomy day, Miss Lucy talked to the students about how they are at Hailsham to eventually donate their vital organs. In school the students are taught to look after other students and not after the guardians.

Sex becomes the new “creativeness” and Tommy and Ruth break up after 6 months. Kathy later finds Miss Lucy a wreck in Room 22. Miss Lucy explains to Tommy that she should have never told him that he didn’t need to be creative because their creations would later be used as evidence. Miss Lucy eventually leaves Hailsham and Ruth and Tommy become and couple again. After the students graduate from Hailsham, they are moved to cottages and are now known as veterans. At the cottages the students are free to do what they want and reading books is the proper thing to do and watching television is frowned upon. Keffer keeps up with the cottages and hates a boy named, Steve, because of his magazines. Kathy looks through Steve’s magazines looking for her “possible”. A possible is the other person that you were copied from. It is said that if you see your “possible,” you will see your future life. Chrissie and Rodney, two veterans from the cottages, say they saw Ruth’s “possible” in Norfolk. Chrissie, Rodney, Ruth, Tommy, and Kathy head to Norfolk to find Ruth’s “possible.” One the way to Norfolk, Ruth mainly talked to the veterans about a rumor how if you really loved someone that you may be able to talk the guardians into letting you stay together for a few more years longer.

The group goes into a small homey store called Woolworth’s and Chrissie and Ruth talk more about the known rumor. Ruth finally sees her possible “possible” and follows her into “The Portway Studios” which is an art gallery. The “possible” seems less and less like Ruth and when the “possible” leaves, the group stays and listens to the silver haired woman about all of the art. Ruth complains about how “possibles” are poor people. Later that day, Chrissie, Rodney, and Ruth go to visit an older veteran by the name of Martain to try and cheer up Ruth. Kathy and Tommy stay behind and do not go with them, but instead go in search of Kathy’s old cassette tape that had disappeared so long ago. Tommy tells Kathy that he draws imaginary animals and that he actually does have creativeness and it just has not came out until now. Once back at the cottages, no one talked about the trip to Norfolk and Ruth finds an old church that is no longer in use and sometimes goes there to read peacefully. The essay to leave the cottages and start training no longer seemed important to anyone.

Tommy and Ruth slowly started drifting apart and Ruth politely tells Kathy that Tommy does not like being with woman who have been with this and that person. Not too much later, Kathy decides to tell Keffer’s that she would like to start training. Kathy later starts as a carer. As a carer they learn to live on the go constant and deal with pain and isolation in their own ways. Kathy runs into students and long ago friends once in a great while. Kathy walked home one day behind a clown with a bunch of balloons and a case. She waited for a balloon to fly away but none of them ever did. Kathy then later went to see Ruth at the Recovery Centre in Dover. They talked about a boat that had been found not too far away and about Tommy. Kathy made a plan to go and see this boat and invite Tommy with them. Kathy and Ruth traveled to Kingsfield to pick up Tommy where they had seen old pictures with a family and a big pool and where the pool had been before there was cement.

They all went and seen the boat and it reminded Kathy of what Hailsham might look like now that its doors were closed for good. One the way back to Kingsfield to drop off Tommy and say goodbyes for now, they talked about Chrissie passing and the billboards flying by on the side of the road. Ruth randomly decides to give Tommy Madame’s address because Kathy will not take it. Ruth gave Tommy and Kathy Madame’s address in case Kathy and Tommy want to get a deferral. Kathy visits Ruth in the hospital and tells Ruth that she and Tommy are going to go to Madame’s hose to try and get a deferral. Ruth eventually passes. Kathy moved into a suite at Kingsfield with Tommy and became his carer. Tommy is slowly healing from his last donation and he draws animals to fill in his time while Kathy sits on their bed and reads. Kathy and Tommy pick out drawings and go to talk to Madame. Madame was not home but they saw her down the street so Kathy and Tommy started to follow Madame home. Madame pauses but tells Kathy and Tommy to come inside.

They talked to Madame about getting a deferral and adding creations to Madame’s gallery. A person in a wheelchair was behind a big curtain and Madame tells whoever to come out. To Kathy and Tommy’s surprise the person in the wheelchair is Miss Emily. Miss Emily explains to the two that there is no such thing as a deferral and the gallery at Hailsham was to prove to outsiders that the children raised at Hailsham had souls. Tommy threw a tantrum on the way home. Tommy’s theory was right; Hailsham was just a place to experiment on people to create perfect people. Later, Tommy believes that it would be best if things ended between him and Kathy so things are not so hard in the end. Tommy describes to Kathy about the imaginary puddle that he would jump in when he scored a touchdown. Tommy dies after he “completes” and Kathy visits Norfolk for the last time before she “completes.”

A major theme in the novel Never Let Me go is conformity. All of the students at Hailsham are born into this world as perfect people because they are clones and are meant to save others’ lives, not themselves. Most of the students at Hailsham accept the requirements throughout the process of being a clone. Tommy is the only student that throws tantrums and works his way against the system, but eventually forms to the way of life that he was given. All of the students see the future that awaits them but the guardians reassure them that it is okay and everyone forms to society in their own ways. The students do not fight against what they have been given, instead praise the life they have been given; but at the same time have thoughts about why their creations had been taken and why they had to live their lives like this. Many did not ask questions about their lives for the simple reason that they were too scared to find out the answer.

A second major theme presented in the novel was obligation to society. The founders of Hailsham prided themselves on producing the most accurate clone in the world. Creating copies of humans in order for them to owe their lives to society, many of these clones were unhappy and fell into depression. The founders believed that many of the Hailsham students should be prepared to take their lives to save others and be happy in the process of achieving it. Madame tries to explain this to Kathy and Tommy when they question her about the deferral. Madame tells them that they should be happy because even though their lives are going to end early and they will spend countless days in pain, they at least had a wonderful life to live unlike many of the clones before them that didn’t get to explore the many wonders of life. The founders of Hailsham raised all of the clones to respect their elders and do as they are told. This is the same way they go through life and by doing so they live a bearable worthwhile life.

A literary device that is used in this book a few times is a simile. A simile is a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid. An example in Never Let Me Go is, “In fact, it took a moment to see they were animals at all. The first impression was like one you’d get if you took the back off a radio set: tiny canals, weaving tendons, miniature screws and wheels were all drawn with obsessive precision, and only when you held the page away you could see it was some kind of armadillo, say, or a bird” (Ishiguro 187). Ishiguro uses this phrase to show how much hard work Tommy put into his drawings.

Tommy thinks that if he works hard and really puts himself to work on creating a unique piece maybe he will prove that he deserves to live longer. Tommy wants to prove to the guardians and all of the outside world that he is not just a clone and he actually does have feelings and has a true soul. Another simile found in this novel is “I thought about Hailsham closing, and how it was like someone coming along with a pair of shears and snipping the balloon strings just where they entwined above the man’s fist” (Ishiguro 213). Kathy thought this because now that Hailsham has closed, her past life has been cut away and taken from her. Even though her memories have not been taken from her, she can no longer return to Hailsham if she wanted to visit.

A second literary device used throughout this novel was an anaphora. A couple examples of an anaphora is, “You’ve been told about it. You’re students. You’re . . . special. So keeping yourselves well, keeping yourselves very healthy inside, that’s much more important for each of you than it is for me” (Ishiguro 68-69). Ishiguro put an emphasis on this quote using the word or structure of “you” a lot because he wants the reader to clearly see that the students are the ones that need to stay healthy, be looked after, and take pride in them. Another anaphora found in Never Let Me Go is, “Because however sympathetic they were, I could see that deep down they were relieved.

They were relieved things had turned out the way they had; that they were in a position to comfort Ruth, instead of being left behind in the wake of a dizzying boost to her hopes. They were relieved they wouldn’t have to face, more starkly than ever, the notion which fascinated and nagged and scared them: this notion of theirs that there were all kinds of possibilities open to us Hailsham students that weren’t open to them” (Ishiguro 165). This quote really shows the relief that Chrissie and Rodney have in this part of the book. Chrissie and Rodney are so relieved because there has never been a student at Hailsham that has ever met or even seen there “possible” and if they were to, everyone would have no idea how to react to such a thing.

The book Never Let Me Go was very enjoyable although in some parts I would have to say the book was kind of boring. For the most part I liked this book, but I felt like I kept reading and reading and even when I finished the book, I felt like I wasn’t done reading. To this day, I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Either way I enjoyed reading the book, it teaches the reader to appreciate the things that we take for granted every day in our lives and to take time and notice the little things that are around you. Overall, I am glad that I chose this book to read over the summer and hope to share this book with others.


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