In the novel Never Let Me Go by Fazuo Ishiguro, Kathy tells readers, "How you were regarded at Hailsham, how much you were liked and respected, had to do with how good you were at ‘creating'" (p. 16).
What were the goals of Hailsham’s administrators in placing such an importance on creativity?
The reason behind putting so much emphasis on creativity is revealed later on in a discussion between Miss Emily, Marie-Claude, Tommy, and Kathy at around page 239. During this discussion, Miss Emily reveals that she was the only one who questioned whether or not Hailsham was morally right. The morality of Hailsham can be questioned on several different grounds: (1) Is it morally right to clone human beings for the mere sake of harvesting their organs? (2) If human beings are cloned, are they fully human, or do they lack human souls? (3) If cloned human beings are not fully human, do they need to be treated humanely and with the same civil rights as actual human beings?
It can be argued that society's current method of organ transplants is inhumane because ill individuals who need transplants must simply wait until an organ donor passes on so that the ill individual can receive the organ. Many ill patients who need transplants don't make it through the waiting period. Hence, it can be argued that cloning human beings is a more moral method of overseeing organ donations because more ill individuals are more likely to receive the organ he/she needs. If more individuals are ensured the rights of life and happiness, then more civil rights are protected for more individuals. But while that's more moral for ill individuals, the question arises, what about the clones? Should we even care about the rights of clones? As Miss Emily states, their intention behind Hailsham had been to prove that there was a more humane way of "doing things," such as donating organs to those who need it. But what's more, as society developed the idea of creating clones to harvest organs, society also started treating those clones as merely test tube subjects, not as human beings. Miss Emily and other founders of Hailsham wanted to also ensure that the clones were treated humanely. But of course the founders of Hailsham could only prove that the clones were indeed being treated humanely if they could prove the clones were being treated like human beings. The artwork became the solution to the problem of inhumane treatment.
Teaching the clones to be creative in artwork became, they had hoped, the answer to that question as to whether or not the clones at Hailsham were indeed being treated humanely. As Miss Emily phrases it, they encouraged the clones to create artwork because, "We thought it would reveal your souls. Or to put it more finely, we did it to prove you had souls at all(it starting at we)." Creativity is one of the very few things that separates human beings from animals. If it can be proved that the clone children possessed the ability to be creative, then it could be proven that they were fully human beings and deserved to be treated humanely. Not only that, once it was proved that the clone children had the ability to be creative, encouraging them to be creative was a logical means of ensuring that the clones were indeed being treated humanely, not as mere test tube subjects. As Miss Emily later explains, they collected the colones' art work to put on display all over the country so that prominent people could view the artwork, such as "cabinet ministers, bishops, [and] all sorts of famous people." In displaying the clones' artwork, it was there way of saying "'There, look! ... Look at this art! How dare you claim these children are anything less than fully human?'" If the founders of Hailsham could successfully make this statement, then they could ensure that the clones at Hailsham would continue to be treated, as they hoped, humanely.
Hence, encouraging creativity was both their way of proving that the cloned children were both fully human and worthy of humane treatment and proving that the cloned children were in reality receiving humane treatment.