Please answer this question on Never Let Me Goby Kazuo Ishiguro: The teacher Lucy Wainright wanted to make the children more aware of the future that awaited them. Miss Emily believed that by...
Please answer this question on Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro:
The teacher Lucy Wainright wanted to make the children more aware of the future that awaited them. Miss Emily believed that by hiding the truth, “We were able to give you something, something which even now no one will ever take from you, and we were able to do that principally by sheltering you . . . . Sometimes that meant we kept things from you, lied to you . . . . But . . . we gave you your childhoods.” In the context of the story as a whole, is this a valid argument?
This is an excellent question. Clearly, this incredible novel raises huge ethical questions, not least the whole idea of creating children to be used as organ donors for "proper" humans and how they are treated. I believe it is possible to see the actions of Miss Emily as acts of kindness. She knew the one purpose that these children had, and yet she tried to give them a "childhood," happy memories before they had to face that future and the way that their lives will be used and abused by others for the benefit of humans. Certainly, from Miss Emily's point of view, it would not have been possible to give the children their childhoods in this way if they had known about the grim and bleak future that awaited them, which, in her mind, justified the deception and lies that she engaged in. However, I guess she would argue that the end justifies the means. She succeeded in giving the children of this school something approaching a normal childhood, whatever the tragedies that face them in the future.
However, it is possible to argue that the fate of the children is made that much worse by the way that they were not in any way prepared for it in their childhood. They have been offered false promises and have been encouraged to invest in false hopes by their "normal" childhood, when they will never have a normal adulthood. That, arguably, could make their acceptance of their fate and role in life all the harder to achieve.
The issue that the adults and the children confronted in different ways was when and how the clone children would be prepared for their ultimate purpose. It can be argued that the point at which a clone learned of their identity and purpose would be the point when their childhood ended. It can also be argued that for parents and other adult caregivers, the process of raising children always involves lying to them about crucial existential matters, including the nature of mortality. From Lucy’s perspective, education and honesty were more important in the children’s formation. To Emily, providing some degree of innocence would shield the children for as long as possible. However, both women deluded themselves into believing that these actions would ultimately make a difference. More than helping the children, each was assuaging her own guilty conscience over being complicit in guiding them toward the ultimate fate.
Miss Emily wants to protect the innocence of the children, who are destined for a horrific reality. She does not wish to lie to them out of malevolence, but, it can be argued that the children could actually build an uprising against their oppression if they were given the truth about their reality of existing for the sole benefit of others. The children are kept pacified, and as such, are able to remain innocent for longer, but also, they are not able to form a resistance. At the very least, the children could become prepared for the future that awaits them. While Miss Emily wishes to provide happiness for the children, she is ultimately keeping them ignorant of the oppression that awaits them, and as a result, a chance at organizing resistance.