What ideas are developed by Ishiguro in Never Let Me Go about the ways that individuals take responsibility for themselves or others?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the massive mysteries of this brilliant, disconcerting novel is the way in which Kathy and the other clones seemingly are compliant and never try to rebel or to escape the fate that they face. They are all destined to "complete" at some stage in their lives, or to die because of the organs that they have taken out of them. There can be no happy ending for them, even though Kathy and Tommy try to find one. This means that the whole issue of responsibility is one that is not really a feature of Kathy and the other clones. They seem curiously passive when they think about their lives and their destiny. Note, for example, the following quote:

What can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished? The hard reality is, surely, that for the likes of you and I, there is little choice other than to leave our fate, ultimately, in the hands of those great gentlemen at the hub of this world who employ our services.

Kathy here almost seems relieved to be able to not have to take responsibility for her own life and to pass on that decision to "those great gentlemen at the hub of this world." She deliberately makes a decision to not take responsibility for the way that her life turns out, and is rather happy just to drift along, enjoying what happiness she can extract from life as it happens, rather than trying to take responsibility for her own life and changing her destiny.

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Never Let Me Go

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