Revisiting Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go"

Revisiting Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go"

I want to go to face this melancholy that I’ve defined myself by.

Recently, I revisited Annie Dillard’s essay “Sojourner”, a text I read far too young in my sophomore year of high school. As I wrote the article, I realized so many of the texts I read that year resonated with me in a way I was too naive to comprehend (much less vocalize eloquently). It’s become a new project of mine to reflect on why a certain number of these books and essays have stuck with me in the hopes I can better understand not just the pieces themselves, but what part of me they’ve latched onto.

As we speak, I am filling out my application to study abroad in London for the upcoming semester. This destination seemed to be a no-brainer for everyone in my family, as I grew up somewhat of an Anglophile (i.e. I taught myself a shit British accent in 5th grade with the hopes of winning Robert Pattinson’s love, and ended up obsessed with One Direction). But there is also this underlying drive to live and learn in the U.K. that I’ve never shared for fear of being mocked or questioned on things I myself can’t even explain.

A couple of months ago, I tried to put into writing why I wanted to pursue such a specific major. Underneath my decision, like I mentioned, there was this sense of melancholy tying me to the idea of the Beat Generation and the American counterculture. Much in that same way, there is this gnawing sensation that has trapped me in the world of Kazuo Ishiguro’s "Never Let Me Go." Part science fiction and part coming of age novel, the book follows three childhood friends from their time growing up at boarding school through the ends of their short lives. All the while, the world used as a backdrop seems to be muted, yet lush and alive. It is this world, and the things that unfold within it, that are what continuously has pulled me to England.

In the novel, the protagonist Kathy exists in two places: the present and her very active memory. While I was prompted continuously in high school to study the concept of memory and how we recall the things that define us (ironically), what I now see I took away most significantly from the story was its tragic and fatalistic portrayal of morality. Without giving too much away, the world that the characters exist in functions on the basis of their sacrifices to it. It is this concept that triggers the melancholy: the idea, in its most primitive and simple form, that we are all simultaneously existing alone and for the benefit of others.

As dark as this notion is, it does cause even the most optimistic person some pause. Think of it this way: we are all puzzle pieces and while we exist solely as ourselves, we have four different sides that each present or connect in a different way than any of the other four. We are never the same person to ourselves as we are to each other, as we are amongst each other.

And, while it is not always the most prevalent of factors, the world in which all of this unfolds (i.e. our schools, homes, cities, nations) is what cocoons these individual and interpersonal dynamics, and ultimately defines them.To me, maybe naively still, I feel as though England has engulfed this entire concept of interconnected individualism, tragically poetic questions of morality, and melancholic reflection.

So, if I am being fully transparent with both you, Reader, and myself, I want to go to London, not for Robert Pattinson or the Royal Family or the double-decker buses. I want to go to face this melancholy that I’ve defined its environment by and, in a remarkably convoluted way, that I’ve defined myself by.

Trailer for the film interpretation of "Never Let Me Go."

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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9 Reasons Crocs Are The Only Shoes You Need

Crocs have holes so your swag can breathe.

Do you have fond childhood objects that make you nostalgic just thinking about your favorite Barbie or sequenced purse? Well for me, its my navy Crocs. Those shoes put me through elementary school. I eventually wore them out so much that I had to say goodbye. I tried Airwalks and sandals, but nothing compared. Then on my senior trip in New York City, a four story Crocs store gleamed at me from across the street and I bought another pair of Navy Blue Crocs. The rest is history. I wear them every morning to the lake for practice and then throughout the day to help air out my soaking feet. I love my Crocs so much, that I was in shock when it became apparent to me that people don't feel the same. Here are nine reasons why you should just throw out all of your other shoes and settle on Crocs.

1. They are waterproof.

These bad boys can take on the wettest of water. Nobody is sure what they are made of, though. The debate is still out there on foam vs. rubber. You can wear these bad boys any place water may or may not be: to the lake for practice or to the club where all the thirsty boys are. But honestly who cares because they're buoyant and water proof. Raise the roof.

2. Your most reliable support system

There is a reason nurses and swimming instructors alike swear by Crocs. Comfort. Croc's clogs will make you feel like your are walking on a cloud of Laffy Taffy. They are wide enough that your toes are not squished, and the rubbery material forms perfectly around your foot. Added bonus: The holes let in a nice breeze while riding around on your Razor Scooter.

3. Insane durability

Have you ever been so angry you could throw a Croc 'cause same? Have you ever had a Croc bitten while wrestling a great white shark? Me too. Have you ever had your entire foot rolled like a fruit roll up but had your Crocs still intact? Also me. All I know is that Seal Team 6 may or may not have worn these shoes to find and kill Osama Bin Laden. Just sayin'.

4. Bling, bling, bling

Jibbitz, am I right?! These are basically they're own money in the industry of comfortable footwear. From Spongebob to Christmas to your favorite fossil, Jibbitz has it all. There's nothing more swag-tastic than pimped out crocs. Lady. Killer.

5. So many options

From the classic clog to fashionable sneakers, Crocs offer so many options that are just too good to pass up on. They have fur lined boots, wedges, sandals, loafers, Maryjane's, glow in the dark, Minion themed, and best of all, CAMO! Where did your feet go?!

6. Affordable

Crocs: $30

Feeling like a boss: Priceless

7. Two words: Adventure Straps

Because you know that when you move the strap from casual mode chillin' in the front to behind the heal, it's like using a shell on Mario Cart.

8. Crocs cares

Okay, but for real, Crocs is a great company because they have donated over 3 million pairs of crocs to people in need around the world. Move over Toms, the Croc is in the house.

9. Stylish AF

The boys will be coming for you like Steve Irwin.

Who cares what the haters say, right? Wear with pride, and go forth in style.

Cover Image Credit: Chicago Tribune

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.


Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.

I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.

I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.

As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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