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How does Kazuo Ishiguro present Tommy to make the audience feel sorry for him?

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megsthebiebs | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 29, 2012 at 8:58 AM via web

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How does Kazuo Ishiguro present Tommy to make the audience feel sorry for him?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 3, 2013 at 1:29 PM (Answer #1)

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Tommy is presented in a manner that reflects some immaturity, some moments of intensely powerful insight, and in a condition where the pain of powerlessness is felt on a personal level.  Tommy is not a monist and one dimensional character.  There are moments when Tommy does not exercise the best in judgments.  There are instances where he displays some level of emotional immaturity.  People like to provoke him to see his enraged reaction.  Tommy also is extremely insightful and insensitive.  He recognizes his own shortcomings, such as his failures in art.  Essentially, all of this reflects that Tommy is a human being.  Tommy might be a clone, but Ishiguro develops his characterization as a human being.  It is for this reason that Tommy cannot understand why he is so helpless and powerless to change his condition as a clone.  In constructing Tommy as a human being, the audience has no choice but to empathize with him.  He is a human being for all practical and emotional purposes.  When he is engaged in his donations, he is on a path where he will be harvested towards death.  It is not the death of a clone.  Ishiguro has constructed Tommy's death to be the death of a human being, one in which the reader sees little difference between themselves and Tommy.  When he dies, it is a moment where empathy is evoked because of the strong identification with him as a human being, not a clone.

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