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August 02, 2021, 12:47:56 pm

Author Topic: Does anyone have notes on the novel Never Let Me Go and the film Gattaca?  (Read 838 times)  Share 

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It'll be nice if someone can attach their resources here! :)


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Hey ally1784,

Here are some notes I had for Never Let Me Go which I studied in Year 10 QCE English. Hopefully it helps :)

Main Themes

Death, Mortality
What attitude to death do the non-clones have? This is not stated anywhere in the novel, but the existence of the cloning program has clear implications.
The non-clones understand their mortality and that they only have a finite number of years of life – and they accept that (ACCEPTANCE OF DEATH - DO WE? OR DO WE DELAY THE INEVITABLE?)
While they were reluctant at first to pursue the cloning program (due to ethical reasons), when they see a loved one dying – they would do anything (use clones) to save them / extend their lifetime
The non-clones want to live longer – that is why the cloning program exists (they will not accept their fate until they try organ donations) – want to defy/escape death – which is why they created the cloning program - (DEFERRAL)
The humans don’t want to die so they created the cloning program to try and extend their life as long as possible, and so readers view the humans as selfish for taking life from someone else, and makes non-clones in the book seem less human than the reader/humans in real life because of the benefits of the cloning program and the extended life expectancy

Underline = reader positioning; may need in essay.

 What attitude to completion/death do the clones display? Answer in general, but also in the context of deferrals.
The clones see their completion/death as a natural part of their life
They understand that they are mortal
Death (through donations) is seen as the “normal” thing and is what they were destined to do from birth (they accept it)
Deferrals started off as a rumour – one that Ruth and Tommy would pursue to find if its true
Deferrals – they accept their fate (death through donations) – they know what they must do, but they also want to live longer to spend time together (that’s why they want a deferral)
The clones are similar to humans in the way they understand they will die but their life has been planned for them (they have a shorter life than humans) and this makes the clones seem more human and less like robots
The clones do not fight against the system, mainly because they don’t know anything different except in the case of two clones falling in love when they can begin to picture what a longer life together would be like if they weren’t destined to die. This makes the readers feel sorry for the clones when they find out they cannot have a deferral and their lives are ending, this also makes the readers feel sympathetic towards the clones and it makes them reflect and think about their own lives / we, as readers, have the choice to make our own decisions

Kathy questions whether they should be allowed the decision to live or not. They look for a way out of the system - to stop the donations (if they can prove they love each other). This shows that they are fearful of death and want to explore the world and not have to donate their organs.

How do readers respond to the attitudes of the clones and non-clones to death?
Like the (non-)clones in the novel, we come to acknowledge that we are all mortal and that we will die one day
We feel pity for Ruth and Tommy as they may not receive the deferral that they so badly desire
We also are in disbelief that the non-clones in the novel would be so selfish to set up a cloning program for the sole purpose of harvesting organs, but we would also understand their perspective – as if our loved ones were in trouble, we would do anything to save them.
Allows readers to see that the clones have an unusual understanding of death and think its a ‘job’. However they are positioned to see that there are clones that are curious and imaginative, who want to live longer (Kathy). This shows that the clones have a desire to live longer, a natural human trait - because call humans are scared of dying and want to live longer - and therefore some clones express very human like responses to death and mortality.
Events and quotes:
When they visit Miss Emily and she tells them that deferrals don’t exist:
“And for the few couples who get disappointed, the rest will never put it to the test anyway. It’s something for them to dream about, a little fantasy. What harm is there? But for the two of you, I can see this doesn’t apply. You are serious. You’ve thought carefully. You’ve hoped carefully. For students like you, I do feel regret. It gives me no pleasure at all to disappoint you. But there it is.” (pg 253)
Phrases such as “couples who get disappointed”, “something for them to dream about”, “you’ve hoped carefully” show that the non-clones do want something like a deferral to happen so they can have more time.
It also implies that clone couples have asked for deferrals in the past, but Miss Emily notes that Tommy and Ruth’s relationship is genuine
The phrase “the rest will never put it to the test anyway” shows that the majority of the clones just accept their life as it is and do not try to fight it.
When Miss Emily says “I do feel regret” it makes the reader feel the same as her and feel sorry for and sympathy towards the clone.
When Miss Lucy tells them about their future:
“The problem, as I see it, is that you’ve been told and not told. You’ve been told, but none of you really understand, and I dare say, some people are quite happy to leave it that way. But I’m not. If you’re going to have decent lives, then you’ve got to know and know properly. . . . Your lives are set out for you. You’ll become adults . . . and before you’re even middle-aged, you’ll start to donate your vital organs. That’s what each of you was created to do.” (pg 79-80)
This quote shows the future that has been planned out for the clones (planned destiny/death)
This quote also says that the majority of the clones will not fight against the system
It also mentions that the clones don’t know anything different about their lives
The clones were created for the sole purpose of harvesting - to supply the humans
Technical Differences
How are the clones created?
Created from an artificial womb

How are they raised that is different to the regular, human population?
 They are raised in the elite boarding school – with a cover up
They are disconnected from the real word
They aren’t independent
They don’t have choices
Their freedom is taken away
They are constantly monitored and watched, except for in the stadium where they are given some ‘freedom’.
Have been brainwashed into believing that they cannot leave the school.
Their life span is not as long as the normal expectancy (they are raised to give donations early on)
When they are at Hailsham, they have frequent health check-ups to make sure that they are still healthy

How do the students at The Cottages learn how to behave in society?
They are taught to behave like normal people
Are told not to stand out
Not to tell anyone that they are clones because people are against the project
They keep up with the trends
The students at the cottages imitate the people in the TV’s and learn to do stuff off that

What biological differences are there between the clones and non-clones?
Humans have the ability to reproduce but the clones are unable to
Clones are not physically born – they are born an artificial womb
They can’t start a generation of their own
They both have the same organs
They both can bleed
They both have DNA
They both can die

Human Reactions to the clones
How do the teachers at Hailsham respond to the students? What do these reactions reveal about the views the teachers and others hold about the clones’ humanity? (Feel free to refer to the Uncanny Valley)
The teachers at Hailsham are repulsed, scared, considering clones aren’t humans.
This implies that the wider community don’t want anything to do with clones, they want to keep them in the shadows and forget them.
 This relates back to the natural fear all humans have - they are afraid and repulsed by the things they don’t understand.
People in the community prefer not to know where the donations come from. The book states that “they would rather think that they came from glass tubes or bottles than people”
Almost fearful of the unknown concept of what they can do, what are they capable of
People that deliver the sale items appear to treat them normally, like humans → don’t appear to be fearful
People outside of Hailsham treat them normally when they first meet, before the knowing they are from Hailsham → treat them like normal people
Most people try to separate themselves from the Hailsham students as much as possible → their solution is not to think about them, imagine the cloning system doesn’t exist
people preferred to think that “their donated organs simply came from nowhere.”
Audiences are viewed to see that humans believe that the clones don’t deserve to be treated equally, they don’t deserve to ‘live’ or have basic human rights → are not human, so aren’t to be treated the same

What responses do people have to the clones when they are out in the wider world?
What societal attitudes to the clones?
They learn that most people are trying to forget about them and leave them in the shadows, that people want them but don’t want to have to know how they get their organs, they don’t want to acknowledge that they have ‘souls’ and are humans, because if they do then they are mistreating humans. So it’s just easier to think of them as different, robots, animals, so they don’t feel bad for mistreating them and not caring about whether or not they are treated humanely.
Miss Emily claims that humans are terrified of clones and that they have always been terrified of them. “We’re all afraid of you. I myself had to fight back my dread of you almost everyday I was at Hailsham. There were times i would look down at you all, from my study window and I would feel such revulsion…”(page 264).
“However uncomfortable people were about your existence, their overwhelming concern was that their own children … did not die … so for a long time you were kept in the shadows and people did their best not to think about you and if they did, they tried to convince themselves you weren't really like us, that you were less than human so it didn't matter”. (pg 258)
“... sometimes … we kept things from you, lied to you. Yes, in many ways we fooled you”. (pg 263) - the carers didn't feel the need to treat them as well as a regular huma. Lack of care is demonstrated here.
They did not care about the artwork that was produced by students in Hailsham - only Miss Emily did. They took their artwork away to ‘because we thought that it would reveal your souls… to prove that you had souls at all’ (pg. 255). Initially, the world believed that they didn’t have souls, so proving that they were creative showed that they were human. (As the rest of the world believed otherwise).
“All clones - or students, as we preferred to call you - existed only to supply medical science” - people only viewed them as a ‘science experiment’. As part of a larger organisation that devalued their worth and individuality 
People outside of Hailsham think of them as different, not human → alienate them
Some didn’t agree with the cloning program → thought of it as inhumane
People who believed against inhumane methods, start to second guess themselves, was it worth it, should we have treated them like humans just to be killed off
People believed that since the clones are not human, they should not be treated as such

 List the emotions the students experience and express. Provide a concrete instance from the book for each (anger, shame, jealousy etc)
 “brought me virtually to tears” (62) - Recognition of sadness.
“Tommy burst into thunderous bellowing…angry chase… began to scream and shout” (9)
“She was very angry” (45)
“Ruth seemed to get crosser and crosser with me” (21) - Anger, loss of control over feelings.Resentment
“…now I felt awful, and I was confused” (60) - Regret, confusion Consequences can cause pain Trying to think and understand.
“It was like she was too ashamed of the matter, too crushed by it – even to be angry” (61) - Ashamed Being let down  Shocked Disappointment Resentful
 “I’d found the whole thing mildly embarrassing” (14). - Embarrassment Ability to reflect on how memories made her feel  Insecurities.
“…boys spread out in anticipation” (21) - Excitement, Nervousness, Eagerness to find out what is going to happen
“Responses caused disappointment; maybe people were resentful” (21) - Disappointment, resentment.  Ability to reflect on feelings. Considerate of others and able to make conclusions about how they may be feeling. Sympathy towards Tommy Recognising that some people aren’t nice and what makes people nice.
“Hurt and Panic as it began to dawn on him…”- Anxiety, Dread, worry.  Exclusion. Sad, hurt pain.
 Sympathy “… I can see how it makes you miserable.” (P.107)
 Guilt When Tommy felt guilty that he had hit Kathy, and wanted to apologise to her. “Kath, I’ve been looking all over for you. I meant to say I’m sorry. I mean, I’m really, really sorry”  (p. 14)

Do they seem to feel these states as intensely as ‘regular’ humans?
Feelings and emotions are a vital aspect of how humans form relationships and communicate with one another. Clones have the ability to recognise these feelings and apply them to their own lives, however often the way in which they express these emotions is mimicked from that the behaviour of humans they have interacted with therefore meaning that the emotions they feel are not as solemn or as deeply felt as a normal human would feel.
The clones display multiple emotions throughout the book. What distinguishes the clones from humans is to the extent in which they feel these emotions. Although the clones demonstrate many emotions such as love sadness and happiness throughout the book, they learn to express these emotions from interacting with the humans around them. The clone’s express emotion but that doesn’t necessarily mean they feel what they are expressing they have just learnt to express these emotions overtime due to the interaction with humans.
   The clones think, feel, suffer, long and have a whole range of emotions similar to the humans which include lust and love the only difference between the clones and humans is that one is artificial and the other natural origin.
The clones don’t seem to have the same level of curiosity as humans, they believe what they have been told and don’t ask any questions - other then Kathy, of whom questions certain things. However still not to the same levels humans do. Why don’t they ask - what about the rest of the world? Why an end date? Why the donations? Why clones? Why not allow them to be out in the real world? Why can’t they have a real job?
Are there any key moments or symbols in the novel related to feelings?
One key moment in the novel that is related to feelings is the general affection and sympathy Kathy has for Tommy. Kathy’s feelings towards Tommy are demonstrated consistently throughout the entire novel, from her very first memories of Hailsham. This is key and shows the feelings she has are genuine as they she is constantly remembering these feelings fondly and with joy and affection.

 What role do art, the Gallery, and creativity play at Hailsham? What are the students told?
Used creativity to prove that they had souls
Artworks were used to express themselves, their souls
Their art “would reveal what you were like” (p255)
Creativity increases popularity among peers, you are more likeable - Tommy was not creative, he was an outcast because of this
Art was used to prove that they are not very different from ‘ordinary’ humans
 The gallery was used to influence the outside world that the Hailsham students were just like them
“Look at this art! How dare you claim these children are anything less than fully human?”
Hailsham is an elite boarding school in England used to ‘harvest’ students which are actually clones in order for them to develop organs for them to donate later in life.
The purpose of producing art is for the carers to prove that the students have souls through the art that they produce and the emotions that they have.
The ability to be 'creative' and create art is to show the outside world that the students at Hailsham actually have their own imagination and interests.
They have the ability to be able to think, form and paint a picture in their heads then finally execute this complicated skill into the canvas.
This process called creative is a high level skill for clones to have.

What do we learn in Chapter 22 about the reasons behind the focus on art at Hailsham?
“We took away your art because we thought it would reveal your souls. Or to put it more finely, we did it to prove you had souls at all” (Page 255)
We learn that the students at Hailsham had to participate in art to prove that the students there had souls.
This could be seen through their interpretations of their art.
By proving that these clones had souls, it proved to the world that they were human too and should be treated like humans and not as objects and just sacrificed as donors. Society felt that it was their right to sacrifice these clones for their own benefits because they didn’t believe they were human.

From your own reading, do you think we are positioned to regard the clones as having some essential ‘soul’? What makes you say so?
Yes, because they all feel and experience their own emotions. They are able to express these emotions, they are able to feel happiness, sadness and other emotions.
From the start we are not told they are clones we are positioned to view them as ordinary children, having a childhood and experiences just like us. Apart from the unknown concepts of ‘donor’ and ‘carer’ we are positioned to view them as normal, human children.
Readers are meant to regard the clones as human and having humane traits as their lifestyle while they are in Hailsham, their humane traits such as having emotions such as jealousy, happiness etc.
Yes, they have the ability to be creative, think for themselves and experience different emotions which is the reason they are able to create art
The book was written in first person in the perspective of Kathy H., a clone. In the first few chapters, we are positioned to view her and the people around her to be normal humans, and it is not explained until later in the book that they are created by science and not real humans.

Being humane
Cite any examples you can find of the clones behaving humanely, whether this be through caring, empathising, being kind . . .
The clones have the capacity to love each other:
Tommy and Kathy go to find Miss Emily in chapter 22 to get a deferral for their donations because they love each other.
The students at hailsham show that they can feel emotion as they can feel jealousy, pride, resentment etc. (when kathy and ruth argue at the beginning of the book)

What do we know about the principles underpinning:
In Hailsham, Marie-Claude and Miss Emily wanted to make sure that the students at Hailsham lived as normal a life as possible and had the ability to learn and have a childhood.
“Whatever else, we at least saw to it that all of you, in our care, grew up in wonderful surroundings” (255-256).
Hailsham also set out not only as a place to provide care for clones before they reached the prime age for their donations but had an ultimatum to prove that clones could have feelings and could be as sensitive and intelligent and grow to become as humane as any ordinary human.
“Most importantly, we demonstrated to the world that if students were reared in humane cultivated environments, it was possible for them to grow to be as sensitive and intelligent as an ordinary human being” (256).
Other clone facilities
“All around the country, at this very moment, there are students being reared in deplorable conditions, conditions you Hailsham students could hardly imagine” (255). This quote gives an insight into the treatment of clones in facilities other than Hailsham. Despite Hailsham being progressive and proving to the world that clones deserve a good life because of their ability to experience life at the same level as any ordinary human, other facilities did not treat clones well and treated them as though they were not humane, looking down upon them as less that human and not worthy of good conditions.

How does Kathy’s work make readers view her personal humanity?
In reading the book from Kathy’s opinion it is almost like a diary or a recollection of events in her memory. This gives creates the notion that clones have the ability to remember, reflect and look back upon their past experiences to the same extent as any normal human. Or even, due to the detail of the memory, have the ability to do this at a higher level.
Her writing style is somewhat off putting and difficult to read. It is not written in the same fluid style that we have been brought up to write like. This creates the notion that perhaps Clones have not been educated to the same extent as regular humans. Above this however, it creates the sense that clones are somewhat mechanical and rely on their memory as a built up knowledge on how to act, write and behave.

QUT 2021 - Bachelor of Education (Primary).