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.