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Kazuo Ishiguro Never let me go, Essay

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Kazuo IshiguroNever let me go

The novel „Never let me go“, by Kazuo Ishiguro describes the life of people who are determined to become organ donors after growing up. As children they are nurtured in an orphanage called Hailsham, they leave at the age of 16. For a few years they live then in a living community called “the cottages” together with adolescents from other orphanages. After this period they become carers for older donors an after a few years they become donors themselves. In their adolescence sexuality becomes an important part of the life of the teenagers at the orphanage. Especially after her time at Hailsham, also Kathy, the narrator, explores her sexuality very copious but this does not seem very important to her.
Through the protagonist Kathy Kazuo Ishiguro wants to show the reader that a person who never really experienced emotional devotion of parents or psychological parents and barely had strong relations to other teenagers (as Kathy had only the touchy Ruth as a good friend) cannot cognize the seriousness of sex as a further step in relationships. For Kathy sex is more an amusement but does not mean or change anything in the relationship of two people. Kathy’s attitude towards the (un)importance of sexuality becomes exceedingly clear at three points of Kathy’s evolution. When she thinks about her first time having sex, she does not look for a boy she likes or knows very well and just considers Harry C. because he is already experienced. Shortly after moving to the cottages she then has sex for the first times but with some different boys, never with a real boyfriend. In the third part of the novel she then has sex with Tommy, her best friend for her entire lifetime and Ruth’s ex-boyfriend, for no particular reason.
When the children at the orphanage Hailsham become teenagers many of them have their first relationships with the other gender and gather experiences regarding their sexuality. In this time almost everybody pretends to have sex to be accepted among the students (“It felt like if you hadn’t done it yet, you ought to, and quickly.” Ishiguro 96). Thus also Kathy starts thinking about whether she wants to have sex for the first time and with whom and decides that it would be better first to “practice” having sex with somebody who does not mean so much to her: “[…] I needed to get familiar with sex, and it would be just as well to practise first with a boy I didn’t care about too much.” (Ishiguro 96). So she plans to have sex with Harry C. because she knows that this boy had already had sex and already hinted a few times that he likes her and thinks that she is attractive. To prepare for the situation of first time having sex she starts reading books and watching films where people have sex until she feels confident enough to give Harry pointers that she wants to have sex with him. Her plan of having sex is only confused by her friends Ruth and Tommy breaking up their relationship they already had. She cancels her plans about having sex for the next time and feels a bit sorry for Harry that she gave him so many hints but did not follow through with it. However her entire plan of her first time sounds very weird for outsiders as most people have their first sexual experiences with persons they really love. For Kathy this aspect of sex seems unimportant: she just wants to have sex with a somewhat accepted boy at Hailsham and does not care about love or what will happen to the boy’s feelings after having such intimate contact.
A second scene that proves Kathy’s special comportment regarding sexuality is her first real experiences in sexuality. Shortly after arriving at the cottages she tells Ruth about some one-night stands she had with different boys at the cottages. But actually she does not care so much about it: although wanting somehow a proper relationship she does not give it a hard try. She hopes that having sex with the boys will evoke a relationship but does not realize what else is essential for a relationship, too (“As I say, that had be my plan [to get a boyfriend], and when the one-nighters kept happening, it unsettled me a bit.” Ishiguro 126). This behaviour is not only typical for Kathy, also other students have one-night stands like hers: “If you knew two students had sex, you didn’t immediately start speculating about whether they’d become a proper couple.” (Ishiguro 125). This shows that many of the students growing up without parents have subsequent problems in starting close relationships. It is evident that among the cloned and infertile donor-teenagers sex has another value and that less people than among normal teenagers start relationships.
Towards the end of the book Kathy once describes how she started having sex with Tommy, her best friend in her childhood and the ex-boyfriend of her meantime dead friend Ruth. She starts having sex with him because of thinking this is a natural development in their friendship (“[…], it would just get harder and harder to make it a natural part of us.” Ishiguro 234). Although she had strong feelings for Tommy before, they never seem to be in love with each other; especially in this part of the book their sexuality seems only to be a pastime to escape everyday boredom of the hospital where Tommy lives. The reader of the book expects for a long time that Tommy and Kathy will become a proper couple in the end of the book because he feels that Ruth and Tommy have too many differences in their personalities. But instead becoming a dream couple they stay friend now just also having sex. There are different explanations for this, but the strongest might be that this really shows how unimportant sex in a relationship got for Kathy: Instead of trying to get Tommy as a boyfriend, Kathy is now bored of looking for relationships and the only feeling she has about having sex with Tommy is being “happy” (Ishiguro 235).
These three scenes of “Never let me go” show Kathy’s attitude towards her sexuality in general and explain how she differs in her behaviour from natural parented persons in our contemporary society, since she never catches the real sense of sexuality in relationships she has problems with building up closer relationships. This is a phenomenon that cannot only be noticed about the Hailsham students (teenagers at the cottages) but also about real children growing up in orphanages or as street urchins: those children have unsatisfied requirements for love and emotional devotion of their parents that induce an unnatural lust of sexuality and violence (Ruth Binder 29). This lust of sexuality can be noticed in Kathy’s behaviour. Furthermore her problems in building up relationships can also be explained psychologically: as Kathy was often disappointed in her friendship with Ruth, later on it is hard for her to find persons really to trust in whereas trust is the most important part of a relationship. This observation of the fear of commitment of some people in “Never let me go” is comparable to the characters of “Brave new world” by Aldous Huxley that are also nurtured without parents in some kind of machines and “automatic” orphanages and shows that a attachment figure is very important for children growing up.

Works Cited:
Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never let me go. London: faber and faber limited, 2005
Binder, Ruth. “Die Kinder der Straße“ – Sozialarbeiterische Interventionen, dargestellt an ausgewählten Beispielen in Brasilien und Deutschland. Diplomarbeit zum Sommersemester 2001 der katholischen Universität Eichstätt / Fakultät für Sozialwesen, 2001 ( . page 29
Englisch GK 21.06.2007
Essay writing Jessica Steinemann
Dieses Essay ist ein Beispiel für eine (vor allem in Amerika) populäre Form des Schreibens auf Englisch. Mit mehrere Quellenangaben versehen.
(five paragraph essay, ) (1301 Wörter)
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