The prevailing question in Never Let Me Go is whether the clones are actually human or not. In order to answer this, one must define the meaning of human in this sense. In this novel’s world, society defines being human as having a soul. While the concept of a soul is abstract, there are characteristics that these individuals display that show their ability to reason, make inferences about the world around them, and love. Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth all exemplify the behavior of normal children and adolescents. They use their imaginations, separate into cliques, and want to be accepted by others; these are all typical actions of “real” people their age. We see that they understand that certain topics are not to be discussed, without being directly told so. Numerous friendships and romantic relationships develop, showing their ability to care about people other than themselves. My interpretation of the soul is the ability to experience emotions and not live simply for survival. Carers and donors fantasize about lives in which they are free to do as they please. Throughout history individuals have fought for freedom; countries have been both created and destroyed on human desire to have the freedom of choice.

This leads to the biggest discrepancy in the argument of whether clones are just like other humans or not. If clones have souls, if they have the ability to reason, if they have the desire for freedom then why do they not simply escape? It is so frustrating at the end of the novel when Kathy and Tommy are driving home from their talk with Madame, pull over on the side of the road, then get back in the vehicle and continue driving. I desperately wanted them to run away, to escape from the structured life someone created for them. Why not just assume a different identity and spend their lives together? I think that their upbringing them cultured them into never having the idea of escaping into a normal lifestyle.

This brings the whole nature vs. nurture debate into the picture. Though they have the same genes as someone in the real world, they have been taught from birth (or conception, or however they are brought into this world) only the things that certain people want them to believe. Because they do not have the ability of free thought, they do not realize that they can take control of their lives. While the clones are in essence human, they have not had enough experience in a normal society to exhibit some typical behavior, such as free will. 

-Merissa

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~ by merissabrooke on February 14, 2010.

2 Responses to “”

  1. wow, have to read this book, seems super interesting.

  2. You are right about clones not getting expose to “normal” society. However, this is not exclusive to clones. Our norms are much different from other cultures in which some individuals may lack free will much like the clones.

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