Monday, January 31, 2011

Never Let Me Go



Kazuo Ishiguro, the Man Booker prize winner for his acclaimed novel The Remains of the Day, arrives with another acclaimed novel Never Let Me Go which explores the idea of cloning in a small boarding school near Norfolk, England.
This topic has been all the rage in Hollywood recently, with movies such as The Island and Gattica that show the struggle between natural born humans and organisms that have been genetically created, or for a more common term, clones. Ishiguro explores a deeper meaning when taking on this theme in his novel. He explains how clones have little or no freedom and are left with a loss of individuality.
The narrator of this story is Kathy, a
thirty-something woman who attended Hailsham boarding school in the late 1970's. She is retelling the events her childhood with her two friends, Ruth and Tommy, who also attended the mysterious boarding school that stresses the importance of good health and creativity.
The students at Hailsham are taught at a young age that they will be giving "donations" at one point in their life, meaning they will most likely lose their lives donating their vital organs to "originals" or the receivers who have purchased the clones. The persons in charge at Hailsham are referred to as guardians, who are often feared by students because of their strict dispositions. All of the students are taught how to create physical pieces of art, rather than theatre or music. This allows for the students to express themselves, yet they are not taught any necessary life skills.

Hailsham was essentially an experiment. In the novel, society at that point in time felt that clones were non-human organisms that were merely sources of organs. They felt that clones did not have souls nor possessed the capability to love one another. The creators at Hailsham forced the students to create artwork as a means of knowing whether or not their theories were true.
Ishiguro's novel does not focus entirely about cloning but rather the emotions that are evoked as a result of the predicament the students at Hailsham are subjected to. He uses the character's experiences to show that compassion and companionship truly have an impact on one's life.

Question:

The characters in Never Let Me Go are not given many choices in their lives. They are isolated within the Hailsham campus unable to interact with "the outside world". They are told
what to do, and when to do it, inside and outside of school, considering that Hailsham is a boarding school.They have capitulated every ounce of freedom they have to the "guardians" demands. Remember back to your elementary school days. I would assume that many of you followed the rules during the school day, but what about at home? How would you feel if you had no say in your life? You had one goal in life and you were to live isolated from the rest of the world? Would you feel lonely? How would you cope?

Side note:
This novel has been made into a major motion picture, Never Let Me Go [2010], starring Keira Knightley, Carrie Mulligan and Andrew Garfield.


23 comments:

Deanna K 5-6 said...

I would definitely not like it. Being at school and being at home are two completely different places. School you have to do everything the teachers say and your day is entirely planned out. At home, you should be able to relax from the busy day. Constantly being told what to do and how to do it at house would create another stessful environment that no one would like. Then if you had to live isolated, then there would be nothing to do. You would have to fend for youself and do everything on your own without any help. I would definitely feel lonely and left out if I were to live isolated from the rest of the world. I probably wouldn't be able to cope well with the extreme loneliness.

Bojana D 11.12 said...

At school, everything is about rules. You have to follow the rules or get punished. But once I get home, I feel so relaxed. I can do whatever. If I had to say no to my life, I would be extremely depressed. Everyone only has one life to live and should live to the fullest. If I was not able to do this, I woul be very upset. If I was isolated from the world, I don't know how I would feel because I would not know what the actual world consisted of. I would only know the boarding school and nothing else so it's hard to say. Assuming I do know what the outside world is like, I definatly would be lonely. I would probably try and talk to someone who feltthe same as me in order to cope.

CorinneS5/6 said...

Having freedom in life is important but the people in the novel may not have missed what they did not know existed. In our day to day lives we see people, mainly our peers, who have more freedom than we do and that makes us want it for ourselves but in this novel it seems like the characters did not know any other way of life wich may have been better, since they could not miss what they never had. For me, I would rather e ignorant of the outside world if I were subjected to as many rules as they were so that I did not just sit around all day wishing I had a different life.

Kelsey M. 11/12 said...

There is so much to experience in life, and I sometimes feel that even living in Mentor, we are isolated from a lot of the world. I think that it is important for children to experience other places once they are old enough to live on their own. If I had no say in where I could go to college or what I could do with my life, I would be very upset. I would not tolerate it and go fend for myself on my own even if it meant basically starting out with nothing. I believe that the only person that can stop you from doing something in your life is you. You cannot let others control you, and you have to make your own path for yourself. The children in the novel were forced into a life that they would probably never choose, but if you are determined enough, there is always a way out.

Kristen R. 11-12 said...

Freedom is an essential factor of life in order for people to truly be happy; however, there are always going to be rules. In school, the rules are different than they are at home. Nonetheless, at home one should be able to have more time to do the things he or she desires. There should not always be a strict routine to follow or people will never have time for themselves and will most likely suffer from health problems relating to stress and other issues. Additionally, I would definitely not be able to live isolated from the world because I need to have interactions with people, and I particularly enjoy the city life; I could never be in the middle of nowhere forced to follow a strict set of rules. I would not just simply abide by this way of life and accept the fact that my dreams of accomplishing anything in my life were over. I would figure out a way to escape the campus.

Heather M. 13-14 said...

to know that i had no say in my own life and that someone was controlling every aspect of my life would be a terrible thought. Constantly having to follow rules and orders from others without my consent meaning anything would be difficult to learn to get used to. Everyone should follow some rules because they keep everything in order, but to have rules for everything in your life and have the rules made by someone other than yourself, would be annoying. Everyone has a different outlook on life and should be able to do with it what they want when they want.

Kelsey M. 13-14 said...

I think a lot of people act a lot different at home than at school. I know I do. If i had no say in my life at home or at school I don't know what I would do. I think that if you had to live isolated from the rest of the world that would be terrible but the people in the book do not know any different because they were brought up to know nothiing but the world they are lving in.

JessieW 11-12 said...

i completely agree with corinne. the characters in this novel probably don't know what freedom is, so they can't miss it. since i know how freedom is, i would hate being in their situation. i would be depressed and angry, because i am a completely different person away from school.

Matt P. 13-14 said...

I do not know how I would cope with the fact that I would have no freedoms. I could only hope that I would not be aware of this mistreatment because it would be the only thing I know. If I was aware, however, I would try to make the best of the situation while looking for any opportunities to try to escape.

allie s 11-12 said...

School was for rules and work. It is time of doing what you are told, and if not you get in trouble. But at home, you can relax and have fun. Im must be a boring person because i followed the rules at home too. But i didn't have strict parents so it was easy for me to do things, but i still didn't. IF i had no say in my life, i would probably go crazy :) And if the one goal in my life was to be isolated from the world i would hate it and i would not cope. I like interacting with people to much, and if i couldn't talk to people then i would feel lonely and probably go crazy. So if i was in these peoples situation, i would hate it.

Kristen T. 11-12 said...

Being told what to do through every single aspect of one's life would be extremely difficult to live with. There are always going to be rules no matter where one goes in life, but freedom is important too. What is the point of life if one cannot even think for himself and have the opportunity to be his own person, different from everyone else? It seems to me that these children find themselves in a very harsh environment, but at the same time it is likely the only life that they know (if they have been in this school since they were young). For an outsider looking in the life of these children seems to be terrible, but for the children themselves, it is likely not that bad because it is probably the only life that they know.

Hayley D 11/12 said...

I think that would be absolutely horrible! Even if the characters didn't know what the outside world was like, I still think that at some point they would choose to rebel. I can't imagine how hard it would be to not be able to make a single decision for yourself. I think that I would definitely feel lonely and also just trapped after being kept in one area your entire life. To cope I think I would talk with the other children in the school but I would also always be listening to what the "guardians" were saying to see if I could find out any other information.

Mike B 13-14 said...

I think it would be no way to live. Living isolated away from the rest of the world would make you feel alone. You would have no chance to meet and learn about the diffrent beliefs and values others have. If you were forced to think one way and forced to do certain things you would not be your own person. If i were in this situation i would try to lead a revolt against the "guardians" rebelling against their inhuman ways.

Courtney R 5-6 said...

I would not be able to stand not making my own decisions and being told what to do. Everyone has their own life and how he or she lives it should not be dictated for them in any way at all. Every person in this world is different and has his or her own views. If someone cannot express himself how they would like to, I think it would drive him nuts. Although these children only know this one life, I think that at some point they would try to rebel, or at least think about doing so.

Eric Y 13-14 said...

Not being able to have any freedom at home would be absolute torture. It would definitely be a tough life to live socially, but from a business standpoint, it seems it would almost be easier to focus on one single goal and especially if I didnt know how freedom felt, it wouldnt be as bad as losing the freedom I had before. Sometimes we dont have a choice in life, like these cahracters, but life must still go on whether we like it or not.

Nick E. 13-14 said...

If I had no say in my life whatsoever, I honestly believe that there wouldn't be any reason to live. To go through life with no choices would quickly become dull, boring, and even worthless. People were developed and have adapted in order to NEED interaction with others like them and not like them at all. Life without anyone would become extremely lonely and relationships would never be experienced. I don't think I would be able to cope... if you think about it, you would just be part of the living dead. Because going though life with out choice is just as boring as laying beneath the ground.

David G. 13-14 said...

I think coping with the extreme loneliness that would ensue from not being able to make my own choices would be very difficult. I think one's imagination would play a very large role because that would be the primary means of entertainment.

Megan L.11-12 said...

I guess a life with absolutely no choices would be hard, but unless there are NO rules in our homelife, we're still living by a set of rules guiding our lives. I guess what I'm getting at is that I know there are rules in school, I follow them. There are probably three times as many rules in my house as there are at school, and I follow them. In this boarding school there are still interactions with other clones and while yes they can't get out of it, it seems to me that I can't get out of my home's rules either. I mean I know I will once I'm out but these people still had other people to connect with. And even if once I leave my house I don't have to follow my parents rules, I'm still guided by a set of rules set by the government and state legislator. Our whole lives are rules whether we like to think about it or not and while our sole purpose isn't to be harvested for our organs, we still have to follow rules just like the clones do.

Kara K. 5/6 said...

I follow many rules at home. For me, being a good person does not stop after the school day ends. If I had no say in my life, then I would not knwo what to do. I feel that everyone needs their freedom and space in life. Being isolated for the world would get very lonely. There would be noone to share stories with and get information from. You would have no clue what was going on in the world. I think freedom is a large part of a person's life, but there needs to be some rules set so they do not get out of control. Also, people need to have others they can talk to and trust so all of their thoughts and emotions are not bundled up inside them.

Alexander C. [13-14] said...

The idea that Corrine brought up about their lack of knowledge of the unknown. Basically, the many freedoms that we take for granted today they did not know even existed. This is how the guardians at the school gain control over their subjects. This forces the students to think creatively without using outside sources for inspiration.

James F (11-12) said...

I like to think that way when I'm like making a beat for like my drumset. When I'm sitting at home thinking of different ways to express myself through music, I often look at the situation from a different perspective. I dream that I have never heard of the masterpieces that great drummers like Vic Ferth and Jim Zildjian have created before my time here on earth. This helps me hone in on the creative process. It is quite unfortunate that this children lived in such harsh captivity, but their level of creativity must have increased.

Alexander C. [13-14] said...

This is a very interesting take on the novel Jimmy. Your level of higher order thinking has led me to believe that you are reading this book also for your project...very clever. I get it. You are trying to one up me.


One character that is introduced in this novel is named "Madame". She comes by once a month to collect the children's artwork to display it in a "gallery" somewhere. She likes to use these children for their creative skills because it offers her a skill level that no one else can give her. Unfortunately, your creativity will never be seen in a gallery because it is music, which can never me permanent. Ha! I rest my case.

Mrs. Sherwood said...

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