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A Guide to ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro

Jonathan Peel | Sunday September 22, 2019

Categories: KS4, AQA GCSE, AQA GCSE Pre-2015 Resources, AQA English Literature, Unit 1 Exploring Modern Texts, WJEC Eduqas GCSE, WJEC GCSE Pre-2015 Resources, WJEC GCSE English Literature, Unit 2a Literary Heritage, Drama and Prose, Hot Entries, Prose, Never Let Me Go

This is just a little taster of Jonathan Peel’s frankly superb guide to Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel ‘Never Let Me Go’....

This guide in combination with our schemes of work provides you with insightful material to engage with in and out of class.

Complete notes can be downloaded as pdf files below.

We might start this document by considering the genre of the writing.

  • Is it science-fiction?
  • Or dystopian literature in which a parallel world is developed which focuses on negative stereotyping (the opposite of a Utopia - look them up, it’s part of learning!).
  • Or is it something else again?

I argue that it is not science fiction despite its subject matter. Cloning has been treated before - Brave New World by Aldous Huxley being the obvious example, but Sci-Fi is interested in the mechanics of the issue and the story usually involves rebellion. Consider all such texts, from popular sci fi to more literary works such as 1984 (Orwell). In most cases dystopia meets sci-fi and all of them hinge on rebellion and the need to make a moral judgement.

They often utilise a first person narrative and we have the same here; but we will need to look at Kathy H. - and carefully. She speaks to us as though to an equal - consider the technical lexis used in the opening page: 'carer', 'donation', 'donor', 'agitated', and so on.

We are clones and we understand her. Often the sense of dialogue is enhanced by use of 2nd person - 'if you’re one of them…' to reinforce this sense of a relationship between writer and reader.

  • Right from the opening sentence which is short, 'My name is Kathy H' questions arise.
  • Why is there no surname?
  • As we read on the questions multiply - since in actual fact we are not clones, much of the technical lexis is strange to us.
  • We are engaged and probably begin to provide answers for our questions as we read.
  • The more we read, the more we can assess the accuracy of our assumptions.

There is also set up an 'us and them'...


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