Chapter 22 Summary

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A great deal is revealed about the history of Hailsham during Kathy and Tommy’s conversation with Miss Emily. Kathy and Tommy’s purpose in coming to the house is to ascertain whether it is possible to defer their donations. It is not possible, though it brings Miss Emily no joy to say so. She tries to explain that they did receive something during their time at Hailsham. They are educated and cultured.

The history of cloning stretches back to the 1950s, and by the time people began to think about where the replacement organs came from, it was too late to do anything about it. Miss Emily asks, how could anyone go back to a world in which there was no cure for cancer? In the early days, the clones suffered in terrible conditions. Miss Emily and Marie-Claude, or Madame, worked to fix that.

They established Hailsham and other schools like it. Their purpose was to convince the public that the clones had souls; Kathy and Tommy are shocked to learn that the subject could even be debated. Miss Emily says this shows how important Hailsham’s work was. If Tommy’s theory is wrong, at the least he was somewhat correct that their artwork was meant to reveal the “inner soul” of the cloned children, the students. There were galleries of artwork on display, and these galleries did lead to better conditions for the clones. However, before long, there was a scandal around one scientist, James Morningdale, who tried to create genetically superior children. Although Kathy struggles to see the connection between the Morningdale scandal and Hailsham, Miss Emily explains that it nevertheless made it impossible to procure funds to keep the schools going. Now, the cloned children live less well than they once did, though at least things are not so bad as they were before Hailsham. Miss Emily takes comfort in this, though she accepts that Kathy and Tommy might not. Miss Emily sees her time at Hailsham as a success on behalf of the clones, whom she admits she found repulsive throughout the time in which she struggled to help them.

Tommy asks about Miss Lucy and why she left. For Miss Emily, Miss Lucy is merely a blip on Hailsham’s history, but she remembers that Miss Lucy’s argument was that more should have been done to make the students aware of their destiny. Miss Emily explains that if the students had known about their ultimate fate—that they would grow up, donate their organs, and die—then they would not have worked to produce such moving artwork. The explanation does not satisfy Tommy.

On the way home, Tommy asks Kathy to stop the car, and he goes into a rage just as he did as a child. He feels that Miss Lucy was right: they should have been told the truth.

Before they leave Miss Emily and Madame, the latter finally remembers Kathy. The two of them compare their memories of the day Madame saw Kathy dancing to the song “Never Let Me Go.” Kathy explains her theory that Madame could see her thoughts at the time: that she imagined a woman who had always been told that she could not have a baby but who finally did. Madame says that she was imagining something completely different, though she still found it moving.

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Chapter 21 Summary


Chapter 23 Summary