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Old 09-15-2018, 09:57 AM   #3
fantasyfan
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Here are just a few thoughts I had about Never Let Me Go.

For me this novel creates one of the most pitiless and cruel dystopias I have ever encountered. The characters are slaves deprived of all choice including even the most basic human rights.

The setting is primarily pastoral and this intensifies the horror. Hailsham outwardly is a school apparently allowing lots of civilising activities. Its name is surely significant. It is a “sham” where the victims first meet. Perhaps it is even an ironic welcome to the reader.

“The Cottages” continues the pastoral environment. Again, the characters are encouraged to do various activities that are really only time wasters until they are moved directly into the horrible Carer-Donor-Completion cycle. Any accomplishments they may have gained on a human level are completely irrelevant and subservient to their use as livestock.

One if the things about the novel that I found very depressing was the way the characters actually accepted their fate. They seemed to have no conception of their own intrinsic worth. One would think that someone, somewhere would realise that they had a unique merit in their own right. But perhaps this is one of the messages of the book. It is possible to enslave to such a degree that any other mind-set becomes impossible.

Personally, I don’t agree with this though the idea has occurred in other dystopian novels. The Time Machine by Wells creates a society of Pastoral Eloi and the mechanistic Morlocks who feed on them. Here, though, the Eloi are unaware of their fate.

The androids of Blade Runner are aware of the genetic engineering that destroys them. They rebel but it gets them nothing except a revenge against the evil genius who created them. One version of the film does imply that some possible fulfilment does await the Androids.(The novel by Philip K Dick upon which the film is based is considerably less sympathetic to the Androids.)

Animal Farm
creates a dystopia against which the animals rebel. They succeed in creating a new society but in the end are betrayed and the rebellion is seen to be futile. And, of course, 1984 is just as pessimistic.

So the pessimism of Never Let Me Go is to be expected and the very normality of the setting and the deeply sympathetic relationships only increase the sense of betrayal left at the end.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 09-15-2018 at 11:27 AM.
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