What kind of moral and emotional responses does the novel "Never Let Me Go" provoke?
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?
The setting of the novel occurs in the recent past, and moves through to an assumed present. The notion of cloning is "futuristic" but by setting the novel in the 1970s at the beginning, there is an idea of normalcy in having established the schools where clones are educated. Although the overall sense one gains from the novel is that cloning is morally repellent, the failure of the main characters (Cathy, Ruth and Tommy) to look for any effective solution to their dilemma, beyond the fantasy of receiving "deferrals" for being in love, suggests that people are all too willing to accept it.
Even given the seeming injustice of the short lives of the clones, they themselves are accepting of their fate, which somewhat undermines the notion that cloning is somehow morally repellent. It seems that non-clones are even more likely to find the system morally questionable, as evidenced by the young teacher who decides to reveal the truth to the students at Hailsham.