Never Let Me Go – How human are the protagonists

This makes us less suspecting of some of the language that she uses but when looking deeper there s some striking diction. The use of the terms ‘donors’ and ‘careers’ may appear slightly bizarre, and in fact they play a very important part in the novel. At first we may be lead to think that they have positive connotations. Donating seems like a charitable thing to do and caring for someone makes us believe that they are very respectful and kind people. However, Guiros uses them to soften the blow of the knowledge that we gradually gain about the characters and their purpose.

These words are very categorical and strip away a sense of individuality that they may have had otherwise. They imply that the only purpose in life for the children is to have their organs harvested and/or to aid those going through the process of ‘completion’ (yet another pushiest word). This use of language is unfamiliar to the reader and it gives a feeling of alienation, making it harder for the reader to relate to the main protagonists. To complete sounds like the person is fulfilling on objective or task which draws a lack of emotion from the reader than a word such as die would.

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This makes it feel as if the characters’ lives are almost programmed and robotic. The characters are also given the label of ‘clones’ which immediately brings negative connotations into the readers mind due to the ethical issues that go with cloning. Many people see clones as artificial and unacceptable; however their use in this book makes you wonder about the extent that we will go to preserve ourselves. They use something that we may see as widely unaccepted for their own benefit, and although this particular story is set in the past, it makes you wonder about our own future.

Guiros may be trying to warn us of the implications that a regime such as that would have. The characters are separated from society and people believe that they do not have souls; instead they are seen as a source of organs. This inability to experience the outside world means they do not understand the world and even the simple things in our lives are ones they cannot get to grips with. They stare into the window of an ordinary office, fascinated by the clean, modern space. “It’s their lunch break, but they don’t go out.

Don’t blame them either. ” Again, this lack of knowledge makes it harder for us to relate to them and makes them seem a little less human. But in some ways this is also very touching. Ruth has dreamt of working in an office and she has goals and aims for herself in life just like the rest of us do and she also wants to find her ‘possible’ just like many people in our world may have the urge to find their biological mother or father. This shows real life aspirations like many of us have, but put into a different context.

It could be Guiro’s way of trying to get us to relate to them, although we may not exactly understand the situation, we should be able to see the similarities and avoid being irrationally prejudice. It provokes the question, what qualities does money have to have for them to be accepted as a human being? The lack of free will that society gives the clones and the lack of respect for them hurts them emotionally, and we see Tommy have a temper tantrum again after many years, when he discovers there are no deferrals and all along society has had only one plan for him.

This hurts him and we see an outpour of emotion, proving he does have a soul. There is a sense of vulnerability throughout the book. The characters are exploited, cultured for the benefit of society. The characters do show emotions, for example when Kathy says ‘Didn’t we all dream from time to time about one radian or other bending the rules and doing something special for us? A spontaneous hug, a secret letter, a gift? ‘ This passage shows the characters need or desire for human experiences such as having a kind of parental figure in their lives.

It also gives the reader a level on which they can relate to Kathy and the other children and this along with the inclusive rhetorical questions allows us to see better through the characters eyes and also stirs our emotions. One of the central ideas running through this book is creativity. Throughout their time at Hails the children are encouraged to be as creative as possible ND are motivated by the idea that their art will go into Madame’s Galley. This theme draws particular attention to Tommy who is bullied in the first part of the novel for his lack of creativity and his temper tantrums.

Miss Lucy tells him that he doesn’t have to be creative at first, but then suddenly later on she goes back on what she said. This is because doing art or writing poems is seen as a way of expressing ones soul and shows creativity and a passion. As we find out later in the novel when Miss Emily says ‘We took away your art because we thought it would reveal your souls. Or to put it more finely, we did it to prove you had souls at all’, Madame’s Gallery was to try and show the rest of society that the clones are human and do in fact have a soul.

This moment, I believe is one of the most shocking as it shows us that there really is no way out for them, despite the best efforts of those who have cared for them when they were at school and saw the humanity but could not convince others. Another way that Guiros tries to present the characters as being human is by allowing Kathy to tell us about her work as a career. She mentions her ability to know ‘when to hang around and comfort them, when to leave them to homeless; when to listen to everything they have to say and when just to shrug and tell them to snap out of it. This is not something that a programmed robot could do, to be able to recognize and understand all the different human emotions and expressions and know exactly how to react. As Kathy says she ‘developed a kind of instinct around donors’. Surely only a human with similar emotional experiences and understanding could have that sort of instinct. Soulless people, people without an essence, spirit or mind of their own, could not do something like that. Another example of Kitty’s natural instincts is when he dances to Never Let Me Go whilst cradling her pillow.

When Madame sees this and starts crying we get a glimpse of the sorrow and perhaps slight guilt that Madame has, as she knows that the children are just as human as those discriminating against them, with the same needs but instead they are being brought up to be slaughtered. Guiros uses a variety of different techniques and language, some of which make us believe the protagonists are human, some of which make us doubt this. This confuses us, but is his way of getting us to question what humanity is and also to think for ourselves about the situation in this book and its message.

He tries to get us to consider the implications of using clones are and shows us what the world would be like, in a realistic way that allows us to relate, not in some far-fetched sic-if fantasy. Personally, I believe that the protagonists are fundamentally human. They show human emotions and desire, and although the setting and world around them is designed to make them seem alien, they rebel against the confines that society puts on them, for example Kathy and Tommy’s love. They show that they do have the capacity for emotion, instinct and passion, and in doing so prove they have souls.

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