How are women depicted differently than men in Never Let Me Go?  

How are women depicted differently than men in Never Let Me Go


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appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The two main female characters in Never Let Me Go, Ruth and Kathy, can offer some insights into the ways women are portrayed in the novel. In terms of presenting opportunities for dramatic conflict in relationships, Ruth and Kathy portray qualities often associated with female characters in literature. The two girls are friends at Hailsham when they are in school, but their relationship begins to unravel when Ruth understands that Kathy cares for Tommy. Ruth undermines her friendship with Kathy by pursuing a romantic relationship with Tommy. This shows Ruth is calculating and manipulative: pursuing Tommy is a way for Ruth to establish control over her environment in a situation where her fate is sealed and her future already mapped out.

Kathy, on the other hand, deals with the spectre of her fate rather differently; she holds tightly to her love for Tommy and her depth of compassion leads her down the path of training to be a carer. She even acts as a carer for Ruth when her time comes to "complete." Both women deal with the helplessness of their situations very differently: Ruth, by manipulating Tommy and trying to make Kathy jealous; Kathy, by hiding her love for Tommy and finding ways to help others who are also doomed to donate their organs and die at a young age.