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Symbolism In Never Let Me Go

Chapter 18
by

Idura Namira

on 8 February 2013

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Transcript of Symbolism In Never Let Me Go

Chapter 18 Never Let Me Go Clowns and Balloons Clowns Symbolism Clowns are defined by the Oxford Dictionary as :

a comic entertainer, especially one in a circus, wearing a traditional costume and exaggerated make-up:

In Chapter 18, Kathy uses the clown holding a bunch of helium balloons as an analogy for Hailsham and its students.
Entertainment Clowns generally entertain by self-depreciating themselves. Often performing foolish stunts that are perceived by some as funny. Clowns entertain people while embarrassing themselves. Evokes Fear Clowns are often feared because of their exaggerated features and make-up. They are viewed as different by some, and even monstrous. The fear of clowns is known as Coulrophobia and some estimates states that around 12% of Americans suffers from it. Balloons Freedom Balloons flying in the sky is often viewed as freedom or letting go.

Kathy states that she views Hailsham closing as

"...someone coming along with a pair of shears and snipping the balloon strings just where they entwined above the man's fist." Loneliness Kathy talks about her fear of "..one of the strings [unraveling] and a single balloon would sail off up into that cloudy sky.

This can be a depiction of how Kathy feels and what she fears most, loneliness.

This however, contradicts what Kathy said earlier about being fine with solitude. From this, we can see how the theme of conformity is reinforced through Kathy's fears. Hailsham is a place for clones. Clones are beings created for donations to save the lives of humans. In doing so, they are often harmed and will eventually die as a direct or indirect result. Clowns and clones in Hailsham are both individuals that harm themselves in a way for the sake of others. They self-depreciates themselves for the benefit of others. This might be why Ishiguro chose this analogy. Hailsham is a place where clones live. These clones, despite being very similar to humans and having emotions, are viewed as non-humans nonetheless. Most people are disgusted by them as previously seen by Madame's action, and views them as mere organ donating machines. The link between these could be that clowns are so commonly feared in our society, whereas in the book "Never Let Me Go", clones are. A balloon is defined as :

a small coloured rubber bag which is inflated with air and then sealed at the neck, used as a child’s toy or a decoration.

In Chapter 18 of the book "Never Let Me Go," balloons are used as analogy for Hailsham students.
From this, Kathy seems to feel that the relationship between the students are fairly frail, and that the only thing that connects them is Hailsham.

This can be seen as an indirect statement and expression of grief by Kathy regarding Hailsham's closure.
Extra Info : BBC has published an article entitled "Why Clowns are Scary?", in the article, Prof Paul Salkovskis, clinical director of the Maudsley Hospital Centre, said that :

"People are typically frightened by things which are wrong in some way, wrong in a disturbingly unfamiliar way,"

What do you think of this and it's relation to the book "Never Let Me Go"?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7191721.stm Link to site :
Full transcript