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Never Let Me Go: Beginnings
Transcript of Never Let Me Go: Beginnings
William Essilfie, Pan Zheng, Janet Chen, and Aaron Jin
Never Let Me Go: Beginnings
"I'm not sure when the temper tantrums started. My own memory is that Tommy was always known for his temper, even in the infants, but he claimed to me they only began after the teasing got bad" (21).
"This was all a long time ago so I might have some of it wrong; but my memory of it is that my approaching Tommy was part of a phase I was going through" (13)
"With the attainment of a new name;
Rosie entered a new phase of life. Under the name, Rosie and all she had suffered in her earlier life were buried from public view" (139)
-R.K. Narayan, The Guide
Let's Compare this to The Guide!
Question: Is Kathy’s narration
still valid despite how unreliable she can (and will) be? How different would the novel be if it were told from another character’s perspective (such as Tommy or Ruth, or the guardians)?
"Looking back now, I can see
why the Exchanges became so important to us. For a start, they were
our only means... of building up a collection of personal possessions" (16).
Ambiguity of Human Identity
Types of Ambiguity
Ambiguity of Memory
Kathy has the advantage of retelling the story with more knowledge but the disadvantage of memory lapse due to time. Weigh their effects on Ishiguro's portrayal of the story in the first chapters. How do they impact the reader's understanding of the novel's beginnings? What makes you as the reader trust or distrust what Kathy says?
"But in the end I managed it, and the instant I saw her again, at that recovery center in Dover, all our differences—while they didn't exactly vanish—seemed not nearly as important as all the other things: like the fact that we'd grown up together at Hailsham, the fact that we knew and remembered things no one else did" .
In Kazuo Ishiguro's novel, Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro uses ambiguity, unreliability, and flashbacks in order to make the protagonist more realistic while keeping the reader disconnected and uncertain about what they should believe.
What's the effect of an unreliable narrator on how the reader perceives the story?
How do Woolf, Narayan, and Austen use ambiguity in their novels? What is the effect on the reader? Which author is more successful in his/her use of ambiguity?
In Never Let Me Go, students are encouraged to create only for personal material gains, a reason opposite to that of Rosie. How might the different motivations for creativity affect the development of children in Hailsham? What might this attitude reveal about the guardians running this society?
Evaluate Narayan's and Ishiguro's treatment of the past and for what purpose they use flashbacks in the context of the characters and of the readers. Consider both Rosie hiding from her past by changing into Nalini and Raju recounting his past to Velan.