On the surface, the students of Hailsham value creativity and art skills because of the social status they infer. Tommy, for example, gets made fun of by his classmates because of his lack of artistic talent. Creativity and churning out good paintings, drawings, or poems is a means of grabbing attention, praise, and social status—i.e., fitting in.
What the students don't know—at least not initially—is that being creative is a sign of being human. The teachers know this and use the connection between creativity and humanity to argue that their students do, indeed, have souls just like natural human beings, even though they're clones.
Eventually, Kathy and Tommy realize just how high the stakes have been, as they discover that Miss Emily and Madame have been using the students' artwork to prove their humanity all along. They weren't looking for the soul of an artist in the students' work; they were looking for proof of a soul, period.
Yes, both the students and the administrators at...
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