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Literary Analysis - Never Let Me Go

            In many great works of literature, authors withhold secrets until just the right moment- when the revelation of the secret has the greatest impact. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is one such work. The characters of Never Let Me Go: Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth, live in Hailsham, a fictional society where they are obviously treated subhuman. Their dehumanization, however, exists at a mysterious, unspoken level until one day their fates are revealed to them. They are clones and their sole purpose in life is to donate their organs to the humans they were created after. This revelation shocks readers, yet the characters react as if they expected such a future. This juxtaposition of attitudes conveys the way in which dehumanization is accepted in the present society; it is not often realized until one takes a step back and looks at the big picture. In creating a "healthy confusion" among readers, Ishiguro masterfully communicates the situation of the present society, one where humans willfully subject themselves to subhuman lives and don't even know it.
             From the start of the novel, Kathy, the protagonist, vaguely explains the process of donations. She boasts about her skill as a "carer," that the people she cares for "do much better than expectedand hardly any of them have been classified as 'agitated'" (3). As the story progresses, readers learn that Kathy and "those like her" are viewed as subhuman by those from the outside world; others "dread the idea of [her] hand brushing against theirs" (36). Still, few concrete details have been given about why they are treated this way. This all changes though, when one day in class, Miss Lucy reveals that their lives "are set out" for them, and before they know it, they will "start to donate [their] vital organs" (81). The children are not surprised. Kathy even states that she "feels like [she] always knew about donations in some vague way" (83).

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