The Treatment of Ethics in Precarious Life by Judith Butler and Never Let Me Go

Before I dive into the treatment of ethics that Precorious Life plays in Never Let Me Go, here’s some food for thought: what ethical demand does a person who has a precarious life make on you? Could the individual be asking for help or do you feel for that person? In Judith Butler’s Precarious Life, she thoughtfully writes to figure out multiple aspects of ethics. By using Butler’s Precarious Life as a theoretical framework for Never Let Me Go, I will discuss the treatment of ethics and how they are truly downgraded through dehumanization, Never Let Me Go boldly advocates dehumanization by “othering” the clones at Hailsham and the individuals they are trying to help. The thought of dehumanization came to me after reading Judith Butler’s Precarious Life in which she focuses on as a segment of her excerpt. In Butler’s excerpt she ventures off into multiple aspects of precariousness, one being that we “other” those who have a precarious life.

For this essay “othering” will be associated with dehumanization as I further elaborate on Butler’s ideas and how they are presented in Never Let Me Go. Dehumanization will also be the only regard since after re—reading Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, the role of dehumanization becomes more apparent for the sole reason that Ishiguro boldly chooses to dehumanize the characters in his novel by “othering” them in her excerpt, Precarious Life, Butler states: “When we think about the ordinary ways that we think about humanization and dehumanization, we find the assumption that those who gain representation have a better chance of being humanized, and those who have no chance to represent themselves run a greater risk of being treated as less than human, regarded as less than human, or indeed, not regarded at all”.

In other words, Butler is saying that when society thinks of the concept of humanization or dehumanization they assume that individuals whom have a better image will be treated accordingly and those who don’t have a chance of creating a better image are not regarded as much or at all. An example of the lack of self-representation Butler is speaking of may very well be the fact that the Hailsham students, the clones, do not have much knowledge of their own purpose or why such things affect them. In fact, they did not know what their purpose in life was before their guardian, Miss Lucy, had told them She began by saying “You’ve been told about itr You’re students. You’re special. 50 keeping yourselves well, keeping yourselves very healthy inside, that’s much more important for each of you than it is for me”.

The exaggerated pause when Miss Lucy Claims the clones are special brings to surface what Miss Lucy is aware of it is a morose and sarcastic compliment to ward off how they are being used At Hailsham the students lack the self-representation Butler speaks of therefore not having any chance of being humanized. To further elaborate on the idea of dehumanization, Butler uses Levinas’ theory of the face and questions how we come to the difference between the inhuman but humanizing face and the dehumanization that can also take place through the face (Butler 141). Butler is seeking the ethical demand when we are presented with precariousness. The real question is whether humanization is the response to the ethical demand or is dehumanization the response? Based on Levinas‘ theory there is a face we choose to respond too. It is not an actual face, it is an aura a person gives off when we see them. One response is choosing to help because we want too and the other is choosing to help because we pity the “other.”

For the students at Hailsham they live a precarious life in which they‘re pitiedi. By taking Levinas’ theory of the face, the precarious life the Hailsham students lead is associated with the ethical demand the face is making. When their guardians are not able to identify with them because they see them as disposable creatures is the response that embodies dehumanization, but Madame hadn‘t nearly come up to the threshold she just went on standing there staring at me with that same look in her eyes like she was seeing something that gave her the creeps”. The previous quote is a part when Madame saw Kathy hug a pillow as if it were her baby. When Kathy describes the stare that Madame was giving, it signals the dehumanizing aspect.

The ethical demand is when Kathy hugs the pillow while listening to the song Never Let Me Got. Because readers are well aware that they’re clones and could not be humanly identified with, her actions are the face that asks for help. It is an unconscious and subtle precariousness that Madame responds to by crying later on Through dramatic irony we are aware that they are inhuman characters and so the world around them dehumanizes them because they pity their precariousness. In her article, “Ishiguro’s Inhuman Aesthetics,” Black points out that the reader will not identify with Ishiguro‘s characters through the sudden realization that they are just like us, but through escaping the traditional concept of what being human is Black goes against dehumanization occurring and suggests that empathy is the true connection of identifying with the precarious life that Ishiguro’s characters lead.

She states: “The act of identifying with someone else’s experience is deeply tied to our everyday understanding of what it means to be human”. Continuing with this notion Butler responds to Levinas’ theory by saying: “It seems to be that the “face” of what he calls the “Other” makes an ethical demand upon me, and yet we do not know which demand it makes” (Butler 131) What Butler is saying is the very precarious individuals give off an impression which makes an ethical demand upon those who are not precarious Butler complicates matters further when she quotes Levinas to elaborate on his notion of the face. “My ethical relation of love for the other stems from the fact that the self cannot survive by itself alone, cannot find meaning within its own being-in-the-world. In ethics, the other’s right to exist has primacy over my own, a primacy epitomized in the ethical edict: you shall not kill, you shall not jeopardize the life of the other“.

Butler is bringing to the surface that society chooses to help others because they are moved by their hardships and want nothing more than to visualize them (the others) being stable just as those who are. My view, however, contrary to what Butler has quoted, is that the ethical relation an individual may have towards someone who cannot survive is dehumanizing. No matter how much one may want to help another, that one person unconsciously dehumanizes the “other.” What society sees as humanity is just a mask of dehumanization, Although not all readers think alike, some of them will probably dispute the claim that Never Let Me Go dehumanizes the characters in the novel by “othering” them. One thing that is certain in lshiguro’s novel is that the Hailsham students were made and given purpose so they can donate their vital organs to those in need.

While it is true that scientists and the guardians at Hailsham came up and executed the innovation of cloning in order to provide organs for a person in need, it does not necessarily follow that they are committing an act of humanity. In choosing to help those in need, by having the Hailsham students donate their vital organs, the scientists and guardians behind it all are also dehumanizing those they intend to help. Society in Never Let Me Go is responding to their own ethical relation and in doing so are “othering” those is need because they are precarious; living life on edge not knowing what’s going to happen nextt. If they do not receive the organs that they need death may become of them Lastly to further the idea of how “othering” ties into ethics Butler says: “If the Other, the Other’s face, which after all carries the meaning of this precariousness then the face operates to produce a struggle for me, and establishes this struggle at the heart of ethics“.

Here Butler is making comment toward the trigger of ethics. If somehow a person’s face carries the impression of some type of precariousness, or at least if the non precarious person notices, then it produces a struggle for the non-precarious being. The precariousness of an individual is the face asking another to assume the responsibility of helping. It is the very help that dehumanizes the precarious individual since it is seen as a struggle. The previous example is the epitome of how Never Let Me Go treats the concept of humanization and dehumanization Life around the Hailsham students continuously moves. To their society, the students present a struggle, and the duty to assume the responsibility of getting them out of such a precarious life. To respond to the ethical demand the clones are unconsciously making, society deems them inhuman and dehumanizes them as a response for the struggle they’re producing.

Butler was right when she quoted Levinas’ ethical relation of love for the other, however, the ethical relation taking place in Never Let Me Go is dehumanizing for the utmost reason that “other“ beings present a struggle that one feels they invariably must respond too. Thus, while Never Let Me Go advocates dehumanization by othering their clones to donate to those in need, we must also remember that by helping those in need they are also being dehumanized. There is no real humanity, for real humanity is an individual‘s ethical relation and the reason they choose to respond to both their relation and the ethical demand that precariousness makes. Alas by taking Butler‘s Precarious Life as an example we learn that the face is the trigger of ethics which ultimately leads to dehumanization.

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The Theme of “Undesirable” in Jane Eyre and Never Let Me Go

In the first chapter of Jane Eyre, we encounter the young Jane sitting next to a window reading a book about birds. She is struck by the illustration of “a broken boat, stranded on a desolate coast”. In Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro employs the central image of a “beached boat” with its paint “cracking” and its cabin “crumbling away”. Both boats are isolated in a bleak landscape This fascination with openness, abnormality and the exploration of the “undesirable” is at the heart of both novelsi Both narrators, in their own ways are outsiders, whether it be Jane as a poor, physically undesirable orphan, or Kathy as a clone from whom the “normals” instinctively recoili In this way, both authors explore the concept of what is “undesirable“ as not just concerning physical attraction, but also that which is different to received convention and that which undermines the status quo what is socially undesirable.

While the narrator Jane tackles these “differences” head-on, Kathy’s apparent acquiescence requires the reader to draw his or her own conclusions as the novel progresses. But by the end of both novels, this received idea of “undesirability” has been complicated and even subverted. In Jane Eyre, the limits of difference from the norm are explored in the character of Bertha, while in Never Let Me Go, the world of the “normals” is shown to be “more scientific, efficient, yes but a harsh, cruel world. In Jane Eyre, Bronte uses the character of Jane to examine the possibility of defiance against the obstacles that the ‘norms’ of class and gender that her contemporary society presents as socially desirable. The author seems to rejoice at Jane’s small acts of rebellion: Jane’s speech to the bullying John Reed is delivered with such articulate zest and authority. She shouts, “you are like the Roman emperors!”, accentuating Bronte’s depiction of Jane as the oppressed (like the persecuted Christians of the Roman era), thus glorifying her rebellious nature.

The book laments the persecution that Jane experiences as a result of her defiance, when she is locked in the Red Room, and therefore can be read to celebrate ‘undesirability‘ Moreover, the interactions between Jane and John Reed following this incident are gleeful in demonstrating Jane’s superiority in battle John “once attempted chastisement. But as I instantly turned against him, roused by the same sentiment of deep ire and desperate revolt which had stirred my corruption before, he thought it better to desist, and ran from men.” As Joan Anderson writes, the novel “challenges the rigid gender constructions of femininity and the Victorian societal constraints designed to keep women enclosed’. But through the explosive character of Bertha, Bronte explores the limits of the rebellion she celebrates in Jane, Bertha is the epitome of rebellion, refusing to fit in with the social requirements of marriage, making “distressing lamentations” late into the night (in the Gothic style hugely popular in the 18405).

It is the opposite of the prim and proper ”Miller’s Daughter” female stereotype of the time. Bertha is described as “masculine, black-visaged and almost the same height as her husband’s This would be seen as grotesque to a 19th-century audience, where the image of a petite, feminine, domestic wife would have been applauded. The decision to make Bertha “black-visaged” would draw further abhorrence from a 19th-century readership, many still out-of-pocket from the aftermath of the Emancipation. Act of 1833 and when ideas of blackness were still tied up in images of danger, physicality and unreason Bertha is portrayed as the inconveniencing and undesirable “other” in the novel, a common Gothic image of threat, insanity and villainy, that stands in the way of Rochester in his marriage to Jane. Although madness would normally be seen as something the victim would be unable to control.

Bronte asserts that Bertha is responsible for herself, with Rochester declaring her mother to be “a madwoman and a drunkard” and that “like a dutiful child, she copied her parents in both points. An assertion like this suggests that Bertha chose to be insane, simply copying her parents (clearly a ridiculous concept but true to contemporary ideas). This further highlights how Bronte wants Bertha to be seen as vindictive and sinful, an undesirable character in the eyes of Bronte’s contemporary audience, perhaps suggesting that she is much more conservative than the established opinion of the novel and providing insight into her more traditional attitudes towards acquiescence to the requirements of society, Ishiguro echoes Bronte’s presentation of the ‘undesirable’ as rebellion through the character of Tommy. After he has been cruelly left behind by the other boys, he flies into a fit of rage.

Throughout the novel, Ishiguro makes it clear that Tommy is not like the others; “What you’ve got to realise,” as Ruth said to Chrissie, “is that even though Tommy was at Hailsham, he isn’t like a real Hailsham student.” However, Tommy’s rebellious nature, like Bronte‘s portrayal of Bertha’s, is seen as undesirable by Kathy: he begins “to scream and shout, a nonsensical jumble of swear words and insults”, Ishiguro shows us that in the eyes of a clone, Tommy is abnormal in his refusal to accept his social status. Kathy later goes on to say that “each of us were secretly wishing a guardian would come from the house and take him away”. This is particularly poignant as it shows that the clones do not like any interruption to their destined lives. The clones have been conditioned to view acts of rebellion as simply a childish tantrum, much like the society of Bronte’s contemporaries: the lamentauons of women were simply seen as hysteria, shown with Bronte‘s description of a manic Jane in the Red Room This is not a childish tantrum, but a passionate plea for attention and understanding.

Through Kathy’s eyes Tommy’s tantrum is an ugly paroxysm, something unacceptable for a clone to partake in, Samuel Humy summarized this, stating that the “individual must learn their own identity while coming to terms with the negative identity the world projects upon them”. This reflects on the decision to make Tommy a pubescent boy, already coming to terms with his own identity, without the added pressure of the character forced upon him by his oppressors. The choice of the euphemistic word “incidents” to describe these outbursts suggests a defaming attitude towards such an outpouring of emotion and the fact that this is coming from the clones, themselves the oppressed, makes this society seem more sinister. So lshiguro shows that Tommy‘s acts of rebellion bring undesirable consequences with the ensuing judgement he receives from his peers lshiguro draws from Marx’s theory of False Consciousness, which explores collective recognition of oppression and thus why we rebel or conform.

However, the reader, as the book progresses, comes increasingly to understand that it is the “normal” world that is repulsive, and not the clones at all, lshiguro is questioning why we do not rebel against an obviously oppressive society, in Jane Eyre, the oppression that Jane suffers comes from the powerful characters: Mr Brocklehurst claims she has “a wicked heart” and tells her that the “wicked” go to hell after death; Mrs Reed calls her a “liar”. Bronte would have often experienced similar persecution from those societally superior, suggesting why she published Jane Eyre under the pseudonym “Currer Bell”, a male persona. Mr Brocklehurst enacts obvious persecution but it is recognised as such very quickly by Jane herself; Bronte uses the word “dread” continuously throughout Jane‘s time at Lowood, showing her awareness of her own oppression.

Through the character of Rochester, Charlotte Bronte also explores the paradoxical desirability of the “undesirable”, Whilst Rochester plays down any attraction towards Bertha in the early days of his marriage, there is an undertone of sexual frustration in subsequent dealings with her, Following a frenzied attack by Bertha on Rochester, he comments: “Such is the sole conjugal embrace I am ever to know”. Here Bronte hints at the compelling nature of Bertha, in all her terrifying madness. This is also another example of Bronte reflecting social convention, as it would have been inconceivable for married couples to get a divorce in the 19th century, perhaps another reason why Rochester feels inclined to ‘keep’ her. Both the reader and Jane are captivated by Rochester himself, perhaps because of his fundamental flaws.

He is a brute, described by Jane as “some wronged and fettered wild beast or bird, dangerous to approach in his sullen won’t. This allusion to a beast draws from the old fairytale of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ (which was first published around Bronte’s childhood), as Jane is drawn to his flaws, as he is unlike the conventional view of what a gentleman should be in the 19th Century This means the novel can be seen as a double bildungsroman, in which both Jane and Rochester emotionally progress through the novel, to the point where they both realise that societal acceptance and ‘desirability’ is not the most important aim of their lives. As Gilbert and Gubar suggest it was the “anti-Christian refusal to accept to forms, customs and standards of society – in short, its m rebellious feminism that would have the most impact Although the book may contain rebellious feminism, it is not without passion and this is best expressed between Jane and Rochester.

His strong personality makes his love for Jane incredibly ardent, a common theme throughout the novels His undesirability culminates in his obvious disability at the end of the novel, which on the face of it appears to show Bronte taking an unconventional approach to romantic love; Rochester asks “Am I hideous Jane?” And she responds, “Very sir, you always were, you know”. This accentuates Rochester’s flaws and further highlights the atypical nature of their relationship, with such an honest response seeming very modern. For the clones in Never Let Me Go, the most obvious undesirable is death itself, the imminence of which is ever present in their lives. However, disturbingly, this is seen as a twisted sort of achievement to the clones, for which they strive Ishiguro uses the word “complete” to describe the clones’ death after the organ donations.

The use of this word reflects the conditioning that the clones experience during their childhood, with “completing” having positive connotations, as if the clones have achieved their purpose. The use of the word “donations” further accentuates this positive spin on such an exploitative and gruesome task. By making the donations seem like a noble sacrifice for the clones, their unjust death is viewed by them as desirable. This is Ishiguro commenting on our need to have a purpose, and how we can overlook the most obvious exploitation if it means we achieve the goal set for us by society. Through the desirability in the clone’s eyes of such an undesirable fate, Ishiguro makes their oppression seem even more exploitative as it is not just physical but also emotional imprisonment in the twisted system of the “normals”. The emotional separation from normal humans is apparent throughout the novel.

The clones are biologically human, with infertility the only physical feature that differs, Yet the reader assumes they are somewhat inhuman. Ishiguro shows this through the clones‘ clinical descriptions of themselves. Our protagonist Kathy introduces herself as “Kathy H”. This being the first sentence of the novel, it immediately separates the reader’s “human” identity from that of Kathy and the clones. Clearly the clone world is very institutionalized, something that we as humans seem to assume differs from our own. Through the rigid structure of the clones‘ naming system, Ishiguro explores the idea of a collective identity, causing the reader to question their own individuality. This collective identity concept appears constantly in the novel: the clones continue to refer to each other as a “tribe”, suggesting that they see themselves not as individuals but as parts of a more extensive organism. This would make breaking away from others much harder, as they lack any sort of independence, and is part of the method of control that the normals use to prevent undesirable non-conformity.

A key idea in both novels is the concept of shutting away or imprisoning the undesirable, both physically and metaphorically. In Never Let Me Go the clones are separated from society throughout their lives, whether it be Hailsham, the cottages or the clinics. In Jane Eyre, examples of physical separation include the Red Room, Benha’s incarceration and Lowood, which is designed for poor orphans For their custodians, there is a genuine feeling of benevolence, from Mrs Reed believing that she is teaching Jane how to behave, to Madame, who despite physically recoiling from the clones, clearly regarded them as a philanthropic project as described to Kathy and Tommy when confronted at the end of the novel, Miss Emily says: “Marie-Claude is on your side and will always be on your side,” Similarly, Rochester justifies Bertha’s incarceration almost as an act of kindness, or at the very least, duty. In addition to physical imprisonment, undesirable thoughts are also locked away by key characters in both novels.

For example, Jane’s friend Helen uses a religious asceticism to bury feelings of injustice and anger. She comments to Jane in regard to Mrs Reed, “Would you not be happier if you tried to forget her severity, together with the passionate emotions it excited?”. Kathy and Tommy similarly avoid confronting undesirable truths Following their pivotal and devastating trip to Littlehampton, Kathy says: “We hardly discussed our meeting with Miss Emily and Madame on the journey back. Or if we did, we talked only about the less important things, like how much we thought they’d aged, or the stuff in their house.” What makes Jane different is her inclination to confront ‘undesirability’, whether that be injustice, cruelty or her attraction to Rochester. Jane remarks to Helen, “I must dislike those who, whatever I do to please them, persist in disliking me; I must resist those who punish me unjustly“.

This adamant assertion of defiance defines Jane’s character throughout the novel and is at the heart of the romantic endeavor that Bronte is undertaking In contrast to Helen, Jane embraces passion, whether that be anger or love, and thereby, Bronte has created an enduring romantic heroine, Unlike the passionate Jane, the clones are here to live a half life, without desirer This is most graphically illustrated in their sexual encounters, which are prolific but without sensuality and true desire, An example of this is Kathy‘s description of sex at the cottages, remarking that it all seemed “a bit functional”. Ishiguro wrote the novel in an age of contraception and is perhaps reflecting on the purpose of casual sex and whether such mechanical copulation is desirable, Both novels use imagery very effectively to depict the complex, dangerous and often contradictory idea of what is physically and socially desirable.

Fire in Jane Eyre is a constant theme, whether it be the flame-colored drapes of the Red Room or the devastating burning of Thornfield. Both destructive and sustaining, fire imagery in Jane Eyre neatly illustrates what it means to be human in a socially rigid society and the unquenchable passions and often conflict that this entails, Jane observes of the blinded Rochester: “His countenance reminded one of a lamp quenched, waiting to be re-lit,” In Never Let Me Go, art, both visual and musical, is a key theme, from Madame‘s art gallery to the Portway Studios and Kathy’s enjoyment of music and dance. At – its creation and appreciation – is one of the things that define us as human and the Clones‘ response to art (albeit uninformed and inarticulate) indicates to the reader that they are not “the other” and are as human as the “normals”.

At the Portway Studios, Kathy began to “enjoy” the paintings and all the friends “went off into a bit of a dream in there The image of Kathy lost in the music and her own imagination (“iiiwhatever the song was really about, in my head, when I was dancing, I had my own version”) is incredibly poignant Ishiguro, brilliantly subverts this theme when we discover that Madame’s gallery does not exist and that she was encouraging creativity, not as an end in itself, but as clinical evidence of humanity. In other words, throughout the novel, it is the clones and not the “normals” who are touched by art, Just as Jane reflects on herself as a child, (“Children can feel, but they cannot analyse their feelings”), so the clones through Kathy observe their status as ‘undesirables’, but it is for the reader to fill in the gaps and recognize with horror the deeply undesirable ‘normal’ world these ‘poor creatures’ are in.

As the story unfolds in Jane Eyre, as told by the uncompromising narrator Jane, undesirable, rebellious behavior is both stigmatised and celebrated. What both these novels have in common in their depiction of the undesirable is a discovery that what is socially (un)desirable is often at odds with what is personally (un)desirablei Madame’s observation about the “harsh, cruel world” of scientific advancement which inevitably sacrifices the “old kind world” is at the heart of this contradiction, where the socially desirable objective of curing illness leads to a moral corruption of the individual. Bronte, through the relationship of Rochester and Jane, embraces aspects of undesirability, both physical flaws and the ‘other’ of fiery passion, making the novel disconcertingly contemporary.

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Of Never Let Me Go, a Novel by Kazuo Ishiguro

Upon opening Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, you may embark on a deep journey through friendship, love, and a science-driven society where some question their own humanity. Masterfully written, Ishiguro’s novel brings a new light to the world of dystopian novels as we follow Kathy‘s description of her childhood years at an English boarding school, Hailsham, with dear friends Ruth and Tommy. She continues to describe her time as a young woman and begins to reflect on how her past ties into questions that needs answering. By following Kathy’s life, we sense the nostalgia within her and her distraught friendships and love life. Her relationship with her fellow students and her development, both physically and emotionally, allow us to relive her life by looking through her own eyes, feeling her own feelings, and seeing her sights.

Ishiguro delivers a mood as erratic as that of a growing girl, with a somber tone at times, while jovial at others. Although the underlying dystopian plot is slightly cliche, this touching tale brings to light the questionable attitude of society toward a large group of human beings. These ideas are revealed to Kathy and her friends by a most unexpected source. Kathy forces us to think of what our own position would be in her world, which correlates to our place in our own world. For anyone looking for a novel packed with touching emotion, Never Let Me Go is for them. For anyone looking for a novel that plays on a scarred and unfair society, Never Let Me Go is for them. For anyone looking for a novel that can change your outlook on the world and your relations with society, Never Let Me Go is for them. This beautiful novel is highly recommended for any and all and I look forward to continuing exploring the work of Kazuo Ishiguro.

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A Comparison of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go and Its Movie Remake by Mark Romanek

Never Let Me Go is a novel written by Kazuo Ishiguro and has recently been depicted as a motion picture directed by Mark Romanek in 2010. The book brilliantly portrays the struggles of three human clones as they progress through their lives knowing that ultimately their organs will be harvested for other human beings. The film primarily follows Kathy, but Ruth and Tommy naturally gravitate towards her and are integral components of the story. The director successfully converts this novel into not only an entertaining but a symbolic representation of the emotional turmoil that restrained love causes while also taking the liberty to adjust certain facets of the story in order to create a more powerful effect on the audience.

The movie opens with a scene of Kathy briefly caring for Tommy and immediately proceeds to jump backwards in time in order to begin the story with a young Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy at Hailsham. The audience immediately sees the importance of these three characters as the movie chronologically starts with them and also hints at the future relationship of Kathy and Tommy. This relationship is further developed through the interactions of the two throughout their youth at Hailsham through incidents such as Kathy being concerned about his favorite shirt. The director also adds more to their attraction through cinematic elements that the novel could not capture. He creates a scene where Kathy and Tommy are viewing a movie at school, and although no words are exchanged, the heartfelt look of longing they exchange with one another reveals that they clearly share feelings for one another.

The director solidifies the importance of these characters and sets the stage for Tommy and Kathy’s future relationship early on by utilizing parts of the story and an added scene that appeals to the audience visually. Hailsham acts as a vital part of the film because it molds the mindsets of the students from a young age. Once again, the director takes key parts of the story and fuses them with added scenes in order to prove his point. The audience comes to the understanding that Miss  Emily and Hailsham as a whole desire the students to develop a careful and conscientious mindset. The students play a game and refuse to climb a small fence after the ball flies over it. They cite horror stories such as a girl getting her feet and hands cut off as well as other mysterious incidents when questioned by Miss Lucy. The viewer gets the impression that these stories were likely planted somewhere along the way by a Hailsham representative in order to confine the students.

Furthermore, there is an assembly scene where Miss Emily declares that she found cigarettes on campus and reminds the students of the implications of smoking compared to normal people. The director adds a scene where Miss Emily briskly instructs Tommy to eat his vegetables as she walks past his tablet. All of these instances are key in demonstrating to the audience the limitations of love early on. By developing and cementing the mindsets of these students to Hailsham‘s advantage, the institution prevents them from thinking of outside possibilities such as fleeing the country. Without reading the novel, one would not understand this which is why the director makes such a strong effort to get the message across that they are raised to think so linearly. The effects of Kathy being separated romantically from Tommy are seen early on starting when he and Ruth kiss.

It appears that she instigates and controls the relationship which is consistent with both the novel and the tone of the film to this point. Kathy does not understand why Ruth decided to pursue Tommy when she teased him throughout their youth, but the director makes it clear to the audience that Ruth has historically acted for her own personal gain which explains why she made fun of Tommy earlier. Jumping forward from the scene of them kissing to 1985 approximately ten years later is intriguing as it emphasizes the magnitude of the impact of the relationship between Ruth and Tommy on Kathy. She narrates her confusion and regrets throughout this time change as she expresses that she wished she had made fun of Tommy like.

Ruth had in order to attempt to gain his love, The film smoothly transitions time periods and does not let the change distract the audience from the flow of the story by continuing Kathy‘s narration throughout it and showing the effects of being separated from Tommy. The director changes more aspects of the story in order to communicate Kathy’s frustrations with Tommy and Ruth. She has been bottling her emotions for years and is reserved up to this point but calls out Ruth for rubbing her shoulders of Tommy. This differs as the novel portrays the gesture as a pinch of one shoulder. The director likely made this change in order to make the gesture more relatable to the audience He also adds in Kathy walking in on Ruth and Tommy having sex as well as hearing them through the ‘thin walls” of the Cottages.

This contributes to her frustration and makes the audience more sympathetic to Kathy who has to see her regrets firsthand, Simultaneously, the audience sees Tommy’s dissatisfaction through the added scene of their intercourse where. Tommy simply lays there while Kathy passionately acts on him. The following scene where Kathy lies in her bed in order to console herself overhearing Ruth moaning loudly has been manipulated by the director in order to further develop the audience’s understanding of Kathy’s emotional struggles. The director emits the entire section of the novel where Tommy and Kathy search for her lost cassette tape.

He does not divulge into the instances where Kathy and Tommy truly bond but rather keeps them confined through the character of Ruth. In a selfish effort to console Kathy, Ruth says, “although Tommy really likes you as a friend, he just doesn‘t see you that way,” Kathy finally erupts and cannot further handle living in the same home as the love of her life knowing that she cannot have the relationship with him that she desires. Fleeing is the only option clear to Kathy, and her inability to love forces her to do so and she leaves to be a carer immediately following her interaction with Ruth. The three main characters reunite but by this time their roles have changed Earlier.

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The Novel Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Love, by simple definition, is an intense feeling of deep affection but to humanity love is something much more significant and powerful than its simple definition suggests. Love is a force strong enough to last over vast distances and time, inspire some of history‘s greatest moments, and separate humanity from the rest of the natural world. It is a subject that is popularized in nearly every platform of human expression including many novels. One such novel that incorporates a theme of love within its plot is Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. In his novel, lshiguro tells a story of a small group of friends, bound by their rearing at a mysterious boarding school and shared destiny to live and die with the sole purpose of being organ donors. Although love may not be the central theme of the story, it still has a significant role in the plot Ishiguro demonstrates many examples of agape (brotherly love) and philia (friendship between equals) through the interactions of his characters, most notably between Kathy (the narrator) and her closest friend Ruth.

The most prevalent of all the types of love represented in the story is that of agape or brotherly/sisterly love. The earliest indications of this come early in the book with Kathy’s recollection of how she became friends with Ruth, who becomes her closet friend. The significance of Ruth’s friendship is alluded to by the fact that it is one of Kathy‘s earliest memories that she shares with the reader (lshiguro 45). Kathy’s true affection for Ruth is revealed in a memory about a club called the secret guard which was formed by Ruth and aimed at failing an imaginary plot to capture one of the Guardians named Miss Geraldine. After a dispute, Kathy is ousted from the club and is confronted by another former member about the secret guard‘s legitimacy.

Although Kathy believes that the club is nothing more than a fantasy, she argues that the club is legitimate, which is a clear example of her unconditional affection and support of her best friend Ruth Ruth’s character is not portrayed as overly affectionate in comparison to Kathy, but one event in the story exemplifies Ruth’s true affection for Kathy, Kathy’s love is reciprocated by the otherwise calculating. Ruth later when Kathy loses her favorite cassette tape (Ishiguro 75). Ruth understands how much the tape meant to Kathy, and tries to comfort her by gifting her another cassette. Kathy‘s reaction to Ruth’s simple act of love is best expressed by her narration given describing the event: “I still have it now I don‘t play it much because the music has nothing to do with anything It’s an object, like a brooch or a ring and especially now that Ruth is gone, it’s become one of my most precious possessions”.

Although powerful representation of agape is present between Kathy and Ruth, it is by far not the only example of love given in the books. Throughout her narration, Kathy builds an image of love and kinship between her and other Hailsham students. The kinship between Kathy and her Hailsham companions is an excellent representation of philia (friendship between equals) Kathy’s memories always center on her involvement with Hailsham students, even when characters outside of the Hailsham social circle are introduced (Ishiguro 124) Her true feelings of affection for and attachment to her Hailsham crew are expressed during her recollection of her experiences at the cottages (housing that Kathy and other Hailsham students went to after Hailsham): “But then again, when I think about it, there‘s a sense in which that picture of us on the first day, huddled together in front of the farmhouse, isn’t so incongruous after all.

Because maybe, in a way, we didn‘t leave it behind nearly as much as we might once have thoughts. Because somewhere underneath, a part of us stayed like that: fearful of the world around us, and- no matter how much we despised ourselves for it- unable to quite let each other go.” This memory clearly shows a close bond between the Hailsham students. In Kathy’s eyes, her friends at Hailsham seem as a comforting source of love in a new and scary worldt Because Kathy and the other Hailsham students have been confined to Hailsham for their entire childhoods, it is only natural that their closest friendships would have emerged from the members of the group. The loving bond between Hailsham’s students may be the most overt example of philia in the novel, but another form of philia is presented later not involving Hailsham friend.

An example of philia presents itself late in the book after Tommy has given donations and Kathy has become his carer. Towards the end of his life, Tommy seems to identify more with other donors instead of his past with Kathy and Hailsham (Ishiguro 276). This transition in Tommy’s behavior and example of philia between Tommy and other donors is best described by Kathy during one of her visits when she recalls: there was something about the way these donors had arranged themselves in a rough semi—circle, something about their poses, almost studiedly relaxed, whether standing or sitting, as though to announce to the world how much each one of them was savoring the company, that reminded me of the way our little gang used to sit around our pavilion together.

This example of philia addresses not only the changes in Tommy before his death but also reveals Kathy’s nostalgia for her beloved Hailsham crew of the pastt Love is a powerful force that bonds people together and shapes individuals lives. Love’s power is apparent in both the realms of reality and fantasy, Kazuo Ishiguro ties the tryng lives of his characters together by love in his novel Never Let Me Go. Throughout the story, Kathy, Ruth, and the other l-Hailsham students are connected through time by a lingering sense of love in the memory of the story‘s narrator, Kathy H. Although love may not exist as the main theme of the story, its presence acts as an important reminder of why we love in the first place. It seems that Ishiguro may be encouraging his readers to understand the evils of the world we live in, and use love as means to deal with it. If an individual can cling to love as Kathy does, perhaps he or she has a shot at understanding the complicated meaning of this little thing we call life.

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