I Was Here


“Tamara was here” was written in smudged green ink on my desk in the Gen. Chem. lecture hall. Although faded, the curly script stood out against the grainy grey of the plastic coating-simultaneously inconspicuous and conspicuous. I thought it interesting that in a lecture hall of over 200 students, I knew maybe twenty faces, half of those people’s names, and a handful of those physically present in the room. And even the location of that handful was unknown to me, but I knew Tamara. Knew that she had been here, sat here in my current seat. She had figuratively and literally left her mark, her green mark. But what was her purpose for her vandalism?

It occurred to me that we all seek to vandalize, to deface, to change the environment around us. The desire to leave our mark surfaces in different ways. For some, it takes shape in a dream to become a famous dancer, the first to live on Mars, the cancer curer, a NBA star, a top ten senior at Vandy. Growing up, most of us desired fame, power, and influence-we wanted a say in the world around us. We wanted to shape, frame, and mold it.

To me that is a major part of humanity. A lion doesn’t care that he’s the King just as long as he’s well fed. His focus is based off animalistic instinct. On the other hand, mankind craves purpose beyond forge, reproduce, survive. So, if a major part of humanity is the desire to influence the world around us, then a clone, like Kathy, a character from Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, despite being an artificial replication, would be just like us. She had dreams to be a mother, to leave Hailsham, to love someone. She desired that beyond the basics. Like Tamara, she simply wants the world to know she was here.

-Tori Valadez

~ by valadevr on February 2, 2014.

2 Responses to “I Was Here”

  1. I really agree with your categorization of the human experience as “trying to leave a mark” on society, and I think that is a innate desire of all mankind. After all, the biological need to reproduce comes from the desire to literally pass something on to the next generation, thereby making one’s own existence meaningful through propagation of something physical.

    More importantly, and as you allude to, I think that it is so important for Ishiguro to spend so long on the future donors’ childhoods because it perfectly aligns them with non-clones, such as the audience of the novel. With such an alignment, we, the audience, come to implicitly see the ethical dilemmas presented, as the donors become all of us, through similar experiences of love, loss, even bewilderment at society, and indoctrination in school systems (though obviously to a completely lesser extent and for different motives).

    Humanizing the clones reminds the audience that they are wholly human, and just happen to share the genetic makeup of someone already alive – in the same way that identical twins do. Since they are no different, the donors’ eventual death is something profoundly impactful and close felt… it’s not the death of a clone but the death of a human, the death of a child.

  2. I really enjoyed the way you took Karen’s character and showed the relationship between her and Tamara. The idea of the human who desperately wants to say that I was here, that I lived, loved and made some type of difference to the world. This reminds me a lot of the Tower’s tunnel on campus. Where there are countless murals and sketches all over the underground walls. The pub also has writings etched into their bricks with etches of so many students and organizations over the years. These marks serve to immortalize the words of students and make campus feel as if it is their own. Tamara owned her presence at Vandy, and Karen owned her experience at Hilsham. This song reminds me of the picture you posted.

    Saba Getaneh

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