Cloning and Human Dignity in "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro.

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The “Human” Dignity of a Clone

        Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is a coming-of-age, dystopian novel that portrays various heartfelt themes. The fascinating and unsettling depiction of human cloning and its ethical implications blur the lines of morality. Rather than pursuing a futuristic approach to cloning, Never Let Me Go is set in the late 1900s, adding to the intrigue. The novel follows cloned children who, with less time than their counterparts, live with the hopes and sorrows that determine the human experience. Within select passages, Ishiguro’s use of language and character development deepens the meaning behind the story, particularly the importance of human dignity.

In chapter six of Never Let Me Go, the diction supports and aids in the development of the theme. Particularly when the narrator, Kathy, shares the thought process of the children, aged nine and ten, during a disheartening experience at Hailsham. “So why had we stayed silent that day . . . so cruelly for bringing it all up that day after the rounders match” (Ishiguro 69). Ishiguro utilizes a collection of literary devices to enhance the understanding of the students and their inner thoughts. The author's placement of a rhetorical question at the beginning of the passage aids in the conveying of perspective and promotes thinking, prior to the insight gained regarding the inner thoughts of the children. “We were different from our guardians, and also from the normal people outside" (Ishiguro 69). While the diction within this line demonstrates that the children were already aware of their similarities, words like “different” and “normal,” portray the isolation they feel from the rest of society. Within the line “If we were keen to avoid certain topics, it was probably more because it embarrassed us” (Ishiguro 69), the author puts an emphasis on the word embarrassed. This illustrates the shame the students endure, being regarded as something inferior to human. Within this passage, the author emphasizes the polarity the students sense between themselves and everyone else. It is through this that the theme surfaces. Said “differences” are the reason their lives are considered of lesser value. Continuously being treated as a non-human, all while being fully capable of emotion fails to respect the human dignity of the children, clones or not.

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“I’ll never forget the strange change that came over us the next instant . . . Who asks come here anyways” (Ishiguro 35-36). This passage displays the character development the students undergo as they gravitate closer to the truth. This changes the perception of the children as they lose some of their innocence and naivety. They are allowed a glimpse of the harsh reality they must face. “We hadn’t been ready for that. It had never occurred to us to wonder how we would feel, being seen like that, being the spiders” (Ishiguro 35). After setting up a test ...

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