Student Question

How does Ishiguro present the theme of loss in Never Let Me Go?

Quick answer:

Ishiguro uses loss as a prominent theme in Never Let Me Go to show that the clones have no control over their own lives and destinies. They experience the loss of organs and of each other, but Ishiguro shows an acceptance of this loss, showing that one can live with a condition such as this without it defining them.

Expert Answers

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The notion of loss is shown to be one that is intrinsic to the reality of the clones.  Kathy and Tommy, in particular, are shown to accept the condition of loss as a part of their being.  Loss is something shown in different lights.  There is the loss shown by what it means to not have control over one's life or destiny.  The clones experience this loss in the most intense of manners, understanding that their own life is determined by the want of someone else and that there is nothing formidable that can be done to prevent it.  This loss of control is underscored by the physical loss of organs, seen as a part of what reality is for the clones.  The emotional loss of each other is something that is interpreted as a possible venue for exemption in the futile hopes of being able to show and display love for another, something that is experienced but never able to provide redemption or relief from the condition that envelops them.  There is a sad acceptance of loss in the life of the clone, shown as Kathy must see Tommy become "completed," and to recognize that this is her own faith, as well.  As a "carer," Kathy demonstrates that while loss can be a part of one's being, it does not have to define it.  One can care for and love while living in the inescapable shadow of loss.  In these instances, Ishiguro shows loss as a part of the predicament of the clones, a part of their own consciousness.  In doing this, he shows it to be part of our own being, in general.  

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