Chapter 7 Summary
In this chapter, Kathy moves on to her final years at Hailsham. The students are thirteen to sixteen years of age. They have begun to think about their futures and to flirt with each other. These discussions dominate the thoughts of most of the students, but not Kathy’s. She credits her discussion with Tommy by the pond as a marker. After that, she began to question things more directly.
She begins to pay more attention to Miss Lucy. When discussing electric fences that were used in prisoner-of-war camps during the Second World War, the students begin to joke about the fences around Hailsham. They are not electrified, which Miss Lucy points out is “just as well” because “you get terrible accidents sometimes.” Only Kathy wonders what Miss Lucy is talking about.
However, when the students are fifteen and really thinking about what they will do after Hailsham, Miss Lucy offers them a direct statement about their purpose in life. In response to students who want to become famous Hollywood actors, Miss Lucy declares:
Your lives are set out for you. You’ll become adults, then before you’re old, before you’re even middle-aged, you’ll start to donate your vital organs. That’s what each of you was created to do.
In Miss Lucy’s view, the students have all been told this before, but no one has ever told them directly. It seems that Miss Lucy wants to say even more than she has so far, but instead she takes the children outside. Kathy and a few other students can see how troubled Miss Lucy is.
Kathy reflects that the students had indeed been told about donations. For example, when they were taught about sex, they were shown everything about how...
(The entire section is 450 words.)