NLMG Chapters 19-23

January 11, 2012

I was impressed by how Ishiguro manages to provide so many details throughout the story while still leaving enough mystery for the end of the book to be a huge revelation. It turns out the there IS a gallery, and that Madame was really the mastermind of a sociological experiment aiming to prove that the donor children really are people. The artwork that was so important to the students as children was how Madame showed that they had souls. The end of the book was depressing, but I feel that it reflects a lot of conflicts in modern society. Bad ideas become the norm and people get so content with them that they’re rarely reversed.

Anyhow, going back to the beginning of the section…

I was a little confused as to the purpose of chapter 19. I understand that going to see the ship provided Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy with a chance to reunite, but it seemed a little uneventful. Is this because the reunion was unimportant? I think not, as it provided Kathy a chance to begin to rekindle her relationship with Tommy. On the way back to the facility, Kathy puts her foot in her mouth a bit by mentioning that Ruth should have looked into her possible more by talking to Madame. I could feel the tension that must have been in that car as the conversation halted (props to Ishiguro for causing that!). Ruth eventually turns the conversation to how she could tell that Tommy and Kathy should have been together and she regrets keeping them apart. I think this displays an important aspect of Ruth’s character. She never apologizes or admits fault for silly little things, but she realized the gravity of this fact and chose to apologize for her selfishness. To make up for it, she suggests that they see Madame about a deferral. Ruth is willing to help them as much as she can to make up for how she acted for so long.

When we finally meet Madame, her house really gives off a creepy vibe (thanks again, Ishiguro). We learn that there is no such thing as a deferral and that (as I said above) Hailsham was really just a sociological experiment. Seeing Miss Emily in the wheelchair gives me the feeling that she has refused to accept “donations” that she would need to live, thus displaying her dedication to the students.

Lastly, I was shocked at the rapid succession of Tommy and Kathy’s relationship. I knew that there had always been something there, but I didn’t suspect that after so long, their friendship/romance could be rekindled so quickly. I think this is also where Ishiguro’s earlier repetition of sexual topics comes in. As all of the other mysteries wrap up, so does Kathy’s mystery of sex. I think that this topic couldn’t have been left out of the story because Ishiguro aims to reveal the human aspect of the donors, and sex is one of the basic human functions. Anyhow, I was beyond excited to see the couple that I had found myself rooting for finally get together.

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Never Let Me Go Ch 19-24

January 11, 2012

Well, the book has come to a close, and the first thing I am going to do is re-read it! I never thought I would ever say that… I sat down with Never Let Me Go, enthralled with its twist and turns and its toying way of hinting something but then ripping that possibility away at first chance, and fell in love with Ishiguro’s style. Despite studying this novel and thinking about it as I went along, I feel like I still only have a superficial understanding of it. Ishiguro has planted all of these thoughts into my mind about science, morality, life, love, friendship, and so many other topics, but he managed to turn most of my opinions upside down. I cannot form a single opinion on the topics such as cloning which he brought up, and without reading it again I know I won’t be able to.
Neither Tommy nor Kathy was able to escape their fate in the end which doesn’t surprise me. Ishiguro didn’t write this book to be a fairytale with a happy ending. The way he ended the story left a haunting image and emotion with me. Fate cannot be escaped whether we agree with it or not, and it seems that at a young age we are taught to simply accept it and not question.
Knowing what I know now about how Hailsham was special in its treatment of their children, I look back to Chrissie, Rodney, and the others and my heart goes out to them. It’s hard for me to accept that these characters never had a chance. Their life was grim from the beginning, and the light never reached them.
Was anyone else as disturbed by this ending as I was? As much as I wish it had ended happy, I know it would not have done it justice. If you have not read this book then you need to add it to the top of your list. I consider Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go to be a more realistic Frankenstein for our age.

Never Let Me Go Ch 13-18

January 11, 2012

Chapters 13-18 of Never Let Me Go revolve around Ruth finding her “possible.” “Possibles” are people who look similar enough to a “special” person that they could potentially be who they were cloned from.
Earlier in the novel we learned that the reason the students from Hailsham, as well as other schools, were cloned in order to be harvested for their organs later on in life. The idea of being born into the life of an organ donor completely unnerves me, but I’ll come back to that later.
Chrisse and Rodney, two of the veterans, informed Ruth of her possible after they had taken a trip to Norfolk. Excited about being able to meet her potential clone, Ruth arranges to take a day trip to Norfolk with Chrissie, Rodney, Kathy, and Rodney.
What I find most interesting about this section isn’t so much that Ruth is a clone, but rather one of the main aspects that droves Ruth to believe that the random woman Chrissie and Rodney saw could truly be her possible. This random woman was an office worker. To work, especially in a uniform yet lovely street office was Ruth’s dream. It’s depressing to watch Ruth yearn for this lifestyle, and at times convince herself that it is attainable.
Each of the teens at the Cottages only have one destiny, and that is to die after donating their organs. None of them are given a chance or an opportunity at a normal life.
We grow up dreaming of what job we wish to have, who we will marry, and how many children we will have, but none of those dreams are an option for the characters of Never Let Me Go. I could not imagine going through life knowing that I’d die at such a young age after donating my organs, and that I never had a say in my fate.
Also, earlier in the book Kathy tells the reader of how her and her friends at Hailsham believe that Norfolk is where everything that is lost winds up. This is interesting to me now that they have visited Norfolk together because they themselves seem to be lost. Their souls are wandering, and until they begin to deeply question their life’s purpose, they will remain lost.

Never Let Me Go Ch 7-12

January 11, 2012

In chapters 7-12 of Never Let Me Go, the setting has shifted from the grounds of Hailsham to the Cottages. After graduating, each of the Hailsham grads re sent n groups to different establishments to live. The three main characters are kept together and are each sent to the Cottages.
The Cottages are described as a farm-like with barns and storage houses flipped into sort of individual dorms. All of these houses surround the farm house, where the kitchen and family room are located.
The former Hailsham students are not alone at the Cottages, but live with other “special” students just like them from schools around England. Having lived at the Cottages for awhile, these students are known as “the veterans.”
One of the most prominent conflicts I noticed in this section is how each of the main characters are struggling to form their individual identities outside of Hailsham. Ruth, who we can deduce has no concept of her self-identity, clings onto a relationship with Tommy to define who she is. Unaware of her true feelings or intentions regarding Tommy, and better yet how to express them, she mimics the actions of the veteran couples and the couples which she sees on television.
On the other hand, there’s Kathy, who instead of copying others, goes out on a pursuit of finding her identity through experimentation. She toys around with sex, porn, and even her relationships. One such incident of her experimenting with her relationships is when she calls Ruth out on copying TV show characters. Opposed to Ruth, Kathy is upfront about her quest not only involving finding herself, but also trying to fit in.
It’s interesting to see the dynamics of the relationships between the characters because they are slightly light-hearted. Nothing seems to upsetting or surreal for them, but rather everything is superficial. I’m curious what exactly they know that we don’t about their lives, and why their emotions about their own lives don’t go very deep.

Wow! I can’t believe Never Let Me Go has come to an end. I will say I have really enjoyed reading this novel. The way Ishiguro twists the story throughout the book and gives you all the final details in the very end makes you want to keep reading. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a laid back, easy to read, interesting book.

            In these final chapters Tommy and Kathy finally end up together. I saw them together from the very beginning of the novel. The way they confided in each other and knew how to make each other feel better, made me feel as if they were destined to be a couple. When Tommy and Kathy finally ended up together I wanted to scream with excitement. Although, I was excited for their new found relationship I was also saddened when Tommy told Kathy he wanted a new carer for his fourth donation (Chapter 23). I understand why Tommy wanted a new carer, he didn’t want Kathy to remember him in the pain he was going to be in, but it broke my heart to see Kathy driving away with her “lover” in the background.

            Another thing I found quite upsetting was that the whole deferrals ordeal was a rumor. I wanted Tommy and Kathy to get a deferral and be able to live a happy ordinary life for at least three years. Finding out that it was all a rumor was very depressing. But the trip to see Madame ended up revealing information that I had been dying to know. As readers we finally found out what exactly Halisham was. It was a place where “students” were brought up in hopes to give donations so cures could happen (at least that is how I understood it). At first I was kind of taken back by all this. I didn’t know whether to think it was wrong or right. The more Miss Emily kept telling Tommy and Kathy the more I started to agree with what she was saying. Madame and Miss Emily got the whole Hailsham project started and what they did is noble in a sense. These “students” could have easily ended up in a government controlled home, but instead they went to places like Hailsham where they were free to live their lives as normal as possible. I’m not saying the whole donation thing isn’t strange and I haven’t quite decided if it is wrong or right. I’m saying that the way Madame and Miss Emily handled things seemed to be with the student’s best interests in mind.

            Like I said before I thoroughly enjoyed the novel. I thought it was creative and nothing like the books I have read before. So, if you want a novel that will keep you questioning then Never Let Me Go is the book for you. The last thing I will say is that the ending of the novel through me for a loop. I feel like the ending when Kathy is standing in the field with all the garbage and clutter blown against the fence and her sobbing missing Tommy more than ever. I feel like this ending has a more significant meaning than what I am giving it. Did anyone else feel this way? Or was the ending kind of peculiar; for a lack of a better word.

 

Never Let Me Go Ch 1-6

January 9, 2012

First off, let me personally apologize to each of your for falling short on this assignment. As we have discussed in school, I read the book awhile back, but somehow these online responses got pushed aside.

When I first learned that we were going to read Never Let Me Go I honestly did not know what to expect because I had never heard of it or the author. However, the first few sentences of the summary were enough to strike my interest.
From the beginning, I was quite eager to find out right away how these children were “different,” and every idea possible went through my mind from them being supernatural or possibly possessing a level of intelligence never before seen by this world. So as I was reading, I searched for clues between the lines and held onto every small clue Ishiguro let us have.
The first six chapters frustrated me a little because of Ishiguro only giving us few clues as to what was so special about these characters, but as I later found out his purpose. He wove an intricate tale together with few, yet sufficient, clues to allow the reader to experience this tale at its’ greatest.
The relationships among these characters were elaborately formed, and kept me puzzled within those first six chapters. Kathy and Ruth were best friends who shared their entire lives with each other, but they couldn’t truly be themselves with each other. Ruth easily declared herself the alpha of the friendship, and Kathy gracefully accepted this. It seems a bit unrealistic to me how accepting Kathy is towards how others treat her, but I feel that this will begin to play a larger role in her life later on.
Also, Kathy and Tommy’s relationship seems to foreshadow that they will have a future together. Tommy’s temper tantrums are a laughing stock of the entire school, but Kathy has a mysterious way of calming him and bringing him back to reality.
Throughout these chapters, Kathy discusses her career as a “carer,” and although the reader is not aware of what a “carer” truly is, it can be assumed that it involves watching over others in a time of need. Even as a young girl, Kathy is portrayed by Ishiguro as having a loving touch, an understanding nature, and a peaceful demeanor.
From this point in the book, it is nearly impossible to deduce what greatness these children are destined for, but it is certain that whatever it is, they are going to have to triumph many difficulties throughout their lives together.

Never Let Me Go Post 13-18

January 8, 2012

 

These six chapters mainly concentrated on the trip to Norfolk and the relationship between Ruth, Tommy, and Kathy. Along with these six chapters I had my regular set of questions come up too.

            Throughout these six chapters I couldn’t help, but wonder what it would be like if Tommy and Kathy dated instead of Ruth and Tommy. When Ruth, Tommy, Kathy, Crissie, and Rodney all go on their extravaganza to Norfolk to find Ruth’s possible; Tommy and Kathy seem to connect in a way that makes me feel like they have deeper feelings for each other than “just friends.” From Tommy wanting to surprise Kathy with her once lost cassette to having intense conversations about their lives Tommy and Kathy seem to connect on a deeper level. Maybe Tommy and Kathy will end up together towards the end of the book, who knows. Ishiguro has a way of slowly developing things throughout the book, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Tommy and Kathy end up together in the next few chapters.

            Another thing I’ve noticed while reading is that Ruth is a very peculiar character. Her moods seem to fluctuate. One day she and Kathy are best friends and the next it seems that she is stabbing Kathy in the back (Kathy always makes up an excuse for why Ruth is acting like this though). Ruth doesn’t seem like a true friend to me. I feel like she is constantly trying to win over the veterans whether that means hurting her best friend, Kathy, and her boyfriend, Tommy. I don’t know about anyone else, but if a friend was treating me like that I would confront her. Best friends and not to mention girlfriends should not treat the ones they care about like the way Ruth is treating her loved ones.

            I also found it quite interesting whenever Tommy started to go off on his theory about the “approvals.” I wonder if Hailsham really has approvals where couples could “buy” some years before they become donors. Is Tommy’s theory really true? Also with Tommy’s theory there came the idea of the gallery. I’m really intrigued by the gallery. I wonder why Madame takes all the children’s good artwork. Where does the gallery come into play?

            These six chapters definitely posed some very interesting questions. I’m very excited to see if Tommy and Kathy ever have a relationship in the coming chapters. And if the real reason the gallery exists is revealed?

This section of the book focused on the Norfolk trip, and this led to several serious discussions amongst the characters. I found it interesting that Ishiguro was able to take all of the conflicts and weave them seamlessly into one plot line without making the book sound too busy.

The first topic we encounter is the idea of “deferrals,” which is really just a rumor that has been blown out of proportions. This idea not only reveals how little the donors know about how their lives will actually play out, as well as Ruth’s overwhelming need to fit in and please those that will allow her to fit in. I’ve noticed this characteristic of Ruth elsewhere in the book and am curious to find out if there is something driving this attitude. As for the cluelessness of the donors, I am reminded of animals sent to slaughter. This sounds cruel, but in my opinion, what is being done to these kids is even worse.

I’ve also noticed that there is a recurring disconnect in Ruth and Tommy’s relationship. Ruth seems to be using Tommy as some sort of status symbol/ arm candy. Tommy, on the other hand, cares for Ruth, but turns to Kathy when he has something on his mind. He can be honest with Kathy without fear of Ruth’s frequent ridicule. I think this makes a statement on the dysfunction of relationships with no real example to follow. Kathy spoke earlier about how Ruth learned most of what she knows from TV, and this constantly shows up in communication between Ruth and Tommy. It also seems that Tommy is with Ruth because he feels like he ought to be, while on the inside, he knows he’s in love with Kathy. In the store where Kathy finds her cassette, Tommy admits he’d dreamed about this moment. That sounds oddly like something a boyfriend would say, not just a friend.

I think the most important discussions in these chapters, however, centered around the gallery. Even being this far into the book, I still know astonishingly little about it. That is my biggest hint that the gallery is important: Ishiguro is saving the mystery for last.

Chapter 17 is a major turning point because Kathy decides to leave the Cottages. Ishiguro then skips over the training and jumps straight into Kathy’s narration of her time as a carer. She seems to handle the job well, although it seems like a very emotion-intensive, taxing job. After Kathy becomes Ruth’s carer, it seems that Ishiguro begins to hint that Kathy and Tommy really are meant to be together, as Ruth suggests the three meet up. I’m anxious to see how the meeting plays out.

Never Let Me Go 7-12 post

January 5, 2012

As I’ve continued to read “Never Let Me Go,” I’ve found that I can’t set the book down. At the end of every chapter Ishiguro leaves you wanting to read more and more because you want to uncover the secrets of the Hailsham students.

                There are three parts to this novel. After chapter nine you enter into part two. Part two moves away from Hailsham. The students have graduated and from my understanding around 8-10 students are sent to different places around Hailsham to live with veterans. Ishiguro’s main character and the narrator of the story, Kathy and her close friends were sent to the Cottages. I still feel left in the dark when it comes to what the cottages look like. The way Kathy describes the Cottages it seems to me that it is a rundown farm that they are living on. Where they spend a lot of time outdoors exploring their surroundings and in the winter they try and keep as warm as possible because there isn’t a lot of heat. Other than those minor details, I’m still trying to comprehend what exactly the Cottages are.

                One thing I found interesting, was when Kathy was dancing in her room and Madame saw her and started crying (Note: this is back at Hailsham not the Cottages). Kathy was dancing to a song by Judy Bridgewater. Kathy’s favorite line was “Baby, baby never let me go…” and she played it over and over again. On the particular day that Madame caught Kathy dancing in her room, she was spinning around with a pillow holding it like she would a baby. Kathy thought the song was about a woman, who could not have a baby and then when she finally had one she was so scared something was going to happen too it so she sang “Baby, baby never let me go…” So Kathy would replay this lyric over and over again dancing with the pillow. When Kathy felt the presence of someone else in the room she turned and saw Madame crying. I don’t know about anyone else, but I found this strange. My first impression of Madame was a stern woman who “laid the law” down at Hailsham. I pictured her like the Trunchbull on Matilda. When she was crying in the hall because Kathy was dancing I became extremely confused. Why was she crying? Could it do with the fact that the girls at Hailsham couldn’t have children?

                I feel like I have so many questions in this book. Thankfully, most of my questions from my last post have been answered in this section of reading. But with chapters 7-12 I now have a whole new set of questions. Why can’t the Hailsham girls have children? Why are the students of Hailsham so interested in sex? Why did Miss Lucy leave Hailsham and what makes here so angry about the school? I have so many questions, but maybe that’s why I can’t set the book down because I want to find the answer to my questions.

NLMG Chapters 7-12

December 25, 2011

[NOTE: Pardon me if I spoil anything for those who are reading on the set schedule; I’ve been so immersed in the book that I’ve accidentally read through to chapter 16.]

As I continue reading this novella, the characteristic of Ishiguro’s style that sticks out to me the most is his almost puzzling way of introducing things. He will have a the narrator talk about a situation (such as Tommy’s odd behavior) and then drop it for several pages. He hints at it, but it is never explained until several pages (or even chapters) later. He forces the reader to look at causes and effects of relationships and events this way, and because of this, details of the text are much more memorable.

Regarding plot, I noticed that this chapter “chunk” contained one of what I expect to be the most important points in the novella. This is where Kathy and the others leave Hailsham – leave the shelter of the protective guardians and are finally allowed to see the world outside the school (although they do not, by choice, for quite some time). One thing I find strange about this period is how Kathy doesn’t find love, as many others do. Is this representative of how her future as a carer will be? I cannot bring myself to accept that her seemingly constant thoughts of love and sex are coincidental. I am also curious about why Miss Lucy is found crying. It is never fully explained, and I would like to know the specific cause (if it is at all specific) behind her distress. I can assume that because she knows about the children’s future and finds it unfair, she become morally outrages and eventually leaves, but I am hoping that there is still key info about the situation yet to be found.

I found it ironic that moving to the Cottages, which would be looked at by most as a chance at autonomy, is never even considered to be such an opportunity by the students because they’ve never had thoughts of running away. they’ve become so brainwashed that when given the opportunity to escape, and run away from the Cottages, they can’t even register such thoughts. It definitely made me look at them as slaves, being trafficked between their “homes” and donation centers.

I am anxious to discover what lies in store for Kathy and the students in the real world, as well as how they interact with outsiders.