Lydia Behtani Literary Themes: The Other Anne Thorpe November, 17 th 2011 An Analysis of Kazuo Ishiguro‘s “Never Let Me Go” In the video “The Empathic Civilisation”, Jeremy Rifkin shows that no one is an “other” since people can empathize with everyone else. Therefore every kind of illusory differences that exists between people disappears since empathy provides a feeling that everyone is related (1) . However, Kazuo Ishiguro‘s “Never Let Me Go” explores the theme of otherness, even though empathy is one of the dominant feelings throughout the story.
The clones, who are an oppressed group used as organ donors, experience the feeling of “otherness”when they are in relation with the “normal” people. Indeed, the clones feel alienated from each other even though they were created for the same use. For instance, Kathy is the most empathetic character who she feels like the “odd one out”, which accounts for both her similarities and differences between her friends, Tommy and Ruth. Through an analysis of Madame’s reaction, as well as Kathy‘s sexual life and job as a career, it will be clear that Kathy makes herself as an “other” during the whole story [rephrase]. She accepts the reality) Kathy is a clone created to provide vital organs for “normal” people, who is viewed like an “other”, but she accepts her fate. From the beginning of the story, Kathy is curious about what is really going on at Hailsham. She is constantly seeking some truth with Tommy about who they are about their future. Once, she discovers with Ruth that Madame, who is a “normal” human being responsible of Hailsham, is afraid of them “in the same way someone might be afraid of spiders. ”(35). From that moment, Kathy knew that there is something different about them, and this difference makes other people afraid of them.
In fact, the kids are compared to “spiders”which are a type of insect that do not really have feelings because they are cold blooded and scary. Thus, Kathy and her friends are seen less than human because they do not have feelings and so, they are different from Madame. Kathy describes her feeling to be someone that creates a kind of fear to Madame (or: profoundly describes her feeling of otherness) when she said: “when you realise that you really are different to them; that there are people out there, like Madame, who don’t hate you or ish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you—of how you were brought into this world and why-and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs. ” (36). Thus, she feels like an “other” in the dominant society but does not yet know why. Later, Kathy learns that she is a clone and that what makes her feel different from “normal” people is nature (clone). Furthermore, she and Tommy went to visit Miss Emily and Madame to ask a question about the deferral. Then, they found out that there is definitely no deferral, no hope for them to live longer, since they are “simply pawns in game”(266).
As Miss Emily reveals to them, they were programmed to give their organs. As a consequence,Tommy becomes enraged and screamed along the side of the road. On the other hand, Kathy did not react that much but (instead), she tries to comfort Tommy. This suggests that Kathy is fully resigned to their early death and so she accepts being part of the “others” who cannot control their existance. In fact, “nothing seemed to change much [about her] in the week or so after that trip” (276), thus showing how she was so little affected by the revelations.
Thus, Tommy is upset and bewildered by the discovery of the purpose of Hailsham, whereas Kathy appears simply humbled, as if she has passively accepted her fate. Kathy also feels as an “other” comparing to all clones because of her sexual life, but she does not overcome that feeling (cure her problem). At Hailsham, students talk openly of their sexual life, especially couples who were hinting they were having proper sex. At that moment, Kathy is conscious that people were pretending they have experience of sex when they did not necessarily do so.
Even though she knew that people were probably lying about their speech, and so she is not the only one not having sexual relationship yet, she still felt like “the odd one out. ”(97). Thus, Kathy felt unusual and different from everyone else because she does not have that experience. Her feelings of being different from everyone else are made apparent (heighten) when Ruth makes her feels strange because of having strong sexual desires. Therefore, Kathy wonders about her sexual life, and her situation becomes more complicated when she learns that her closest friends definitely had done it. i. e. Laura with Rob D. and Ruth with Tommy). As a consequence, she feels pressure on her as if she “ought to [have sex] and quickly. ”(98). Therefore, she tries to find a partner but when she finally gets the opportunity to not be seen as an “other”, she backs off. In fact, she had set plans for having sex with Harry and she would have had sex with him if “it hadn’t been for this ‘natural successor ‘business. ”(101). (explain more)This reinforces the fact that Kathy chooses to stay different from everyone else since by making this choice she is still alienated from her surroundings.
As a “career” , Kathy has different experiences than her donor friends, therefore she feels disconnected from them. Kathy has been a career for eleven years (3). It seems to her like something to be proud of it because it is not a common thing to be career for so long. However, by becoming career and not donor, she chooses to not experience the same life than her friends, Tommy and Ruth. Therefore, she is not able to truly understand their feelings of being donors. In fact, Ruth makes this remark during the trip to see the boat.
When Kathy pretends to know a lot about donation because of her experience as a career, which provides her to meet many people who went through the process of donation,Ruth discounts her knowledge by telling her: “How would you know? How could you possibly know? You’re still a career”(226). Ruth makes Kathy feel like an “other” since Kathy does not understand the feeling of being a donor. While she and Tommy have this connection, Kathy is not apart of this connection because she still a career and so, she does not go through the same particular life experience then them.
Furthermore, Tommy and Kathy’s relationship is affected by this difference of life experience. In fact, after the little trip at Littlehampton, Kathy feels no more as the first priority since Tommy hangs out with his donor friends. She sees her boyfriend having connection with others, who are all donors, and yet she feels an “unexpected little tug” (277); she feels not part of this group because she does not have a similar group experience. Moreover, she is realizing as a career, she does not have that feeling of belonging and so, she feels again excluded.
However, when Tommy fears what going to happen to him after his fourth donation, Kathy does not provide him all the comfort that he needed at that moment. Even though, she knows the information from her experience with other donors, it is strange that she confuses him. Thus suggesting that once again, Kathy‘s feeling of alienation is based on her own choices. To conclude, as we have seen, Ishiguro demonstrates that the feeling of “otherness” is found between two different groups, as well as in the same groups of individuals.
As a clone, Kathy feels like the “other” when facing “normal people such as Madame an Miss Emily because she provides fear to them. Moreover, she feels alienated from others clones because of her different life experiences. Works Cited Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2010. Print “RSA Animate – The Empathic Civilisation – YouTube. ” YouTube – Broadcast Yourself. Web. Dec. 2011. <http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=l7AWnfFRc7g>. (1)