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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13 Quotes For All Of Us Empowered Female-Identifying People Out There

For the days when you need to be reminded that you are really doing the dang thing and doing it well.


For the days when you need to be reminded that you are really doing the dang thing and doing it well.

1. Do you really need someone else's permission, acceptance, wink, or nod, or are you ready to give these to yourself? -The Universe

I get notes from the Universe everyday and all of them are so amazing and inspiring. There might be a few of them on this list. You can sign up for your own notes from the universe here.

2. The princess saves herself in this one. -Amanda Lovelace

The quote is based off a book called The Princess Saves Herself In This One, which is a collection of poetry about resilience, you can get the book here.

3. I'm made of more than you think. -Snow White, Mirror, Mirror

4. Other people's perception of you ain't none of your business. -Lisa Nichols


5. Do you realize how many events and choices that had to occur since the birth of the universe leading to the making of just exactly the way you are? -Mrs. Which, A Wrinkle In Time

I love this because it really hits home how so many right and wrong decisions led to the creation of you and how you should appreciate the good and the bad because without either of them you wouldn't be exactly who you were supposed to be.

6. You can't stop what's done to you. You can only survive it. -Rachel, Georgia Rule 

This brings up an important theme of my life that I'm still trying to figure out. The only thing you can control in your life is how you react to what happens to you.

7. Don't let anyone ever make you feel like you don't deserve what you want. -Patrick Verona, 10 Things I Hate About You

8. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Queen Clarisse, The Princess Diaries

9. No trifling of the past, no matter how great, can tarnish the brilliance of eternity. -The Universe

10. People who are insignificant to your future shouldn't have an impact on your present.

Someone once told me this, and although I can't remember the person, this quote has always stuck with me.

11. Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before. -Lady Gaga

You know what... I think she was talking about you.

12. Tell yourself it's easy. Tell yourself often. Make it an affirmation. Eat, sleep, breathe it, and you life shall be transformed. -The Universe

13. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. -Mark Twain 

Go on then, be empowered and trust your instincts, you've got big things coming... I can tell.

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