There are things I am more interested in than the clone thing. How are they trying to find their place in the world and make sense of their lives? To what extent can they transcend their fate? As time starts to run out, what are the things that really matter? Most of the things that concern them concern us all, but with them it is concertinaed into this relatively short period of time. These are things that really interest me and, having come to the realization that I probably have limited opportunities to explore these things, that’s what I want to concentrate on. Kazuo Ishiguro, on Never Let Me Go
Part Two Questions
1) One of the most notable aspects of life at Hailsham is the power of the group. Students watch each other carefully and try on different poses, attitudes, and ways of speaking. Is this behavior typical of most adolescents, or is there something different about the way the students at Hailsham seek to conform? A: I believe it is simply the behavior of most teens. Even the teens that live in some of the worst areas of the world still manage to act as a teenager if they are given teenage opportunities’ such as the Hailsham teens that had to watch each other’s every move. They basically were left analyzing one another and to be honest I feel that’s what teens do most. We are stuck judging and analyzing other teens so we can understand a little more about ourselves as teens growing up in a confused yet curious environment. We as adolescents’ simply always want to know MORE.
2) Does the novel examine the possibility of human cloning as a legitimate question for medical ethics, or does it demonstrate that the human costs of cloning are morally repellent, and therefore impossible for science to pursue? What kind of moral and emotional responses does the novel provoke? If you extend the scope of the book’s critique, what are its implications for our own society? A: I feel the book examines cloning as a legitimate question for medical ethics because the excuse they have for cloning is to have a backup plan to save millions of lives. If someone is in need of a new organ, they can just easily take it from their own personal copy of themselves. However, the moral and emotional thoughts/issues that this book provokes leads many to prove how cloning is not human. We are not meant to create life which is why it is morally provoking. We also are not meant to be created only to be used as extra body parts, which why this novel provokes us emotionally.
3) The novel takes place in “the late 1990s,” and a postwar science boom has resulted in human cloning and the surgical harvesting of organs to cure cancer and other diseases. In an interview with January Magazine, Ishiguro said that he is not interested in realism. In spite of the novel’s fictitious premise, however, how “realistically” does Never Let Me Go reflect the world we live in, where scientific advancement can be seemingly irresistible? A: It eerily is quite similar to our society in many many ways. We already have cloned an animal, what would stop us from cloning humans? The only thing stopping us is the law, if we ever were to find a loophole, we would be just as alike as the novel. The book may not be meant to show realism however and ironically it is doing just exactly that.
4) The teacher Lucy Wainright wanted to make the children more aware of the future that awaited them. Miss Emily believed that in hiding the truth, “We were able to give you something, something which even now no one will ever take from you, and we were able to do that principally by sheltering you…Sometimes that meant we kept things from you, lied to you…But…we gave you your childhoods”(268). In the context of the story as a whole, is this a valid argument? A: I believe so because so many children are not children as long as they should be. They try growing up because they either feel they have to or that it’s the socially acceptable thing to do. If I could go back, I would spend at least one more year enjoying dolls and being a happy go lucky free child I once was. I miss being somewhat ignorant to the stress of the world today. So if one teacher believes in sheltering kids to preserve childhood, go for it.
5) Critic Frank Kermode has noted that “Ishiguro is fundamentally a tragic novelist; there is always a disaster, remote but urgent, imagined but real, at the heart of his stories.” How would you describe the tragedy at the heart of Never Let Me Go? A: I would describe the heart of the tragedy to be the reason behind why they clone everyone. They do it they say in order to save lives, but in that process they are breaking the laws of science. Creating copies of people that aren’t even considered people, as I said they are only copies. The cloning used in order to save lives is saving millions of people, but it is stealing away morality and humanity as we know it.
6) In a recent interview, Ishiguro talked about Never Let Me Go: “There are things I am more interested in than the clone thing. How are they trying to find their place in the world and make sense of their lives? To what extent can they transcend their fate? As time starts to run out, what are the things that really matter? Most of the things that concern them concern us all, but with them it is concertinaed into this relatively short period of time. These are things that really interest me and, having come to the realization that I probably has limited opportunities to explore this thing, that’s what I want to concentrate on.” How do these remarks relate to your own ideas about the book? A: I always wondered how clones did fit into society if all they were meant for was extra body parts. The fact that the author wanted us to notice that makes me believe that the writer and I think very alike. I wish people would concentrate more on HOW the clones are living compared to it being the reason why society is losing its humanity in the novel.
7) The Fountain emphasizes cycles and circles in its dialogue, plot points, and imagery. What is it getting at? What do you think they mean? A: It is getting at the idea that death equals life. They mean that in order to live we must die eventually. Due to death, we appreciate life more and therefore enjoy it more. It’s ironic but funny enough it is true completely.
Which other themes and motifs do you see reinforced in the film? How are they featured? Why are they significant? (Some places to begin: light, love, loyalty, denial, defense, fear, etc.) A: I see the idea of appreciation for those around us being enforced. When Izzy keeps saying “Let’s go for a walk” it is to show us how he wishes he would have appreciated her more while she was here instead of forcing himself to find a way to cure her when it was obviously out of his control.
9) Would you drink from the Tree of Life? Would you choose to live forever? A: No, I would not. As much as I am scared of dying deep down, it is my destiny as a human. I do not want to live forever, I want to experience all my hopes and dreams but I want to follow God’s path of me dying if that is what he has in store for me. Death is just natural, while living forever is un- natural.
10) How does The Fountain relate to our curriculum? In other words, how can you connect it to our literature and ideas? (First- and second-semester connections are equally valid.) A: It relates to the discussion of how we lose our humanity (1984) doing certain things that we as humans were never naturally meant to do. We were never meant to have our thoughts controlled, never meant to be cloned, and we were never meant to live forever. Free will and death is what makes us PEOPLE. Without those two factors, I don’t know how we would labeled.