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The Theme Of Secrets In Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

1593 words - 7 pages

Two types of secrets exist in the world: ones that are kept and ones that are shared. In Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, the secrets of the students at Hailsham begin as those that are kept. Isolated from the real world, these students only exist to become organ donors in the future. The narrator and main character, Kathy H., unveils these secrets and discovers her purpose. Ishiguro explores the theme of secrets through the setting, the guardians, and the clones. Through the reentering of friends from the past, Kathy makes connections that open an entirely new idea to our modern world.
Nothing would be the same if it happened in a different place. The same applies in novels. The ...view middle of the document...

There is no actual purpose for the time spent at the Cottages other than to wait. This waste of time also adds to the secretive nature of the setting of the story. Kathy remarks,
When I think of those two years at the Cottages, that scared bewildered start doesn’t seem to go with any of the rest of it. If someone mentions the Cottages today, I think of easy-going days drifting in and out of each other’s rooms, the languid way the afternoon would fold into evening then into night. I think of my pile of old paperbacks their pages gone wobbly, like they’d once belonged to the sea. I think about how I read them, lying on my front grass on warm afternoons…
One similarity between Hailsham and the Cottages is the seclusion from the real world. They never leave these locations and, besides the guardians at Hailsham, there is no one from the outside. Again, they are left with no answers to why they are there and what will be next for them. The unknown now adds to secrets of the setting.
The final location Kathy mentions is the Donor Recovery Centres. This is where the reader learns of the entire purpose of Kathy and her friends. Their first stage at the centres is being a carer. They care for others going through the donations process. Each person goes through a different amount of time as a carer, depending on how long the people in charge believe they should work. After being a carer, they become a donor. There is never a fight against the system that has set out this life. They simply live a secret life until they “complete.” They follow their planned lives without any questions. Only the highest people in charge know everything. Society only wants these clones to exist so that their organs can be used to save someone dying of an incurable disease. There is a fear between those in the real world and the clones though (Whitehead 64). The clones are much like a loaded gun that no one knows how to use. Anything could happen. This is why they are secluded in secret locations.
Ishiguro also uses secrets with the “guardians” or the adults in the novel. One of the first guardians Kathy mentions in a flashback to Hailsham is Miss Lucy. The students see Miss Lucy as one of the more approachable guardians. The first sign of something suspicious is when Miss Lucy tells Tommy that the students at Hailsham are not being “taught enough” (Ishiguro 41). Up to this point in the novel, there are no actual hints that there is anything different about the students or their location. The pressure to keep “the secret” from the students is too much for her though, so she leaves. Eventually, Miss Emily, another guardian, reveals that as head guardian, she had to ask Miss Lucy to leave. Even though she is one of the best guardians, it is more important that the secret is kept. “Madame” is the next adult Ishiguro uses in the novel. The only thing Kathy reveals about her at the beginning is that she comes into Hailsham and retrieves artwork...

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