NLMG Notes Package



A man vs self conflict is evidently portrayed in Never Let Me Go. This man vs self conflict element is evident when Tommy has to hold back his anger when Ruth torments him due to the fact that he was an outcast. In chapter thirteen, Ruth says “‘what you’ve got to realise,’ she said to Chrissie, ‘is that even though Tommy was at Hailsham, he isn’t like a real Hailsham student. He was left out of everything and people were always laughing at him.

So there’s no point in asking him about anything like this’” (155). Ruth describes Tommy as being less of a Hailsham student than the others while talking to Chrissie. Right after Ruth makes these remarks, Tommy goes into a state of anger. Kathy says “A look had appeared in Tommy’s eyes that made me catch my breath. It was one I hadn’t seen for a long time and that belonged to the Tommy who’d had to be barricaded inside a classroom while he kicked over desks.

Then the look faded, he turned to the sky outside and let out a heavy breath.” (155). A man vs self conflict is shown because although Tommy is furious at what Ruth said about him, he has to use his inner strength to pull himself together in order to not lash out. A text to self connection can be made as it reminds me of myself during hockey practice back when I was young.

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The first time I had went to hockey practice, the other children team had made me feel like an outcast as I did not know nearly as much about hockey as them. I would often become furious during these ties and would have to use my inner strengths to pull myself together in order not to lash out of anger.


A man vs man conflict is portrayed in Never Let Me Go between Ruth and Kathy in chapter 10. This conflict starts off when Kathy; being the observant person she is, observes how Ruth has been imitating the behaviors of the coupled veterans and been doing the same behaviors within her relationship with Tommy. After Kathy confronts Ruth about her behavior is when a clear man vs man conflict is shown. After Kathy talks about what she has noticed, Ruth states “So that’s it, that’s what’s upsetting poor little Kathy. Ruth isn’t paying enough attention to her. Ruth’s got big new friends and baby sister isn’t getting played with so often” (124). During this confrontation, Ruth talks about how Kathy is just jealous as to the fact that she hangs out with the veterans and that she is upset because she is not receiving enough attention. This shows how there is a clear moment of tension between the two girls and maybe even a little bit of hatred between both sides. The girls further altercate until Kathy gets up and walks away without fully addressing how she felt. Due to the manner in which Ruth responds to Kathy during the confrontation and how Kathy just walks away without fully addressing her feelings just comes to show how both character upset with each other which further portrays a man vs man conflict.


A man vs self conflict is portrayed in the novel Never Let Me Go when Kathy’s starts to question herself and weather her random urges to have sex are normal or not. At this point, Kathy has had a number of one night stands. It gets to the point where Kathy gets so concerned about her urges to have sex that she consolidates with Ruth. During this conversation, Kathy makes it very clear that she is worried and afraid about what is going on. She goes as far as questioning herself and telling herself that there might be something physically wrong with herself. Kathy says “I suppose so. Maybe it’s just me anyway. There might be something not quite right with me, down there. Because sometimes I just really, really need to do it” (128). Kathy explicitly highlights in this statement that she believes there might be something wrong her. This proves that Kathy is challenging her with her inner self by questioning whether her health is in order or not. Due to the fact that Kathy is questioning herself and her health, it is proven that she is facing a man vs self conflict.



In the novel Never Let Me Go, it is evident that Ruth has a dysfunction in her ability to feel happiness and joy. The reason for Ruth’s inability to feel joy is due to the fact of badly that she wants to be able to fit in with the veterans. Ruth says “‘what you’ve got to realise,’ she said to Chrissie, ‘is that even though Tommy was at Hailsham, he isn’t like a real Hailsham student. He was left out of everything and people were always laughing at him. So there’s no point in asking him about anything like this’” (155). In order to feel accepted by Chrissie, Ruth makes lies about how she supposedly knows about deferral programs that went on at Hailsham. When Tommy explains that he had never heard of a deferral program at Hailsham, Ruth immidealty belittles him and describes Tommy as being less of a Hailsham student than everyone else. This just comes to show the lengths that Ruth is willing to go, even if that means hurting her closest relationships in order to please the veterans. Due to the fact that Ruth is willing to hurt her loved ones, it is evident that Ruth is unable to feel joy unless she feel accepted by the veterans.


In the novel Never Let Me Go, Kathy appears to be in a stage of identity moratorium. Identity moratorium appears to be evident because of Kathy’s high exploration with having relationships with boys, but her low commitment towards being in a serious relationship with any of these boys. In chapter 11, Kathy talks about some of the one night stands she has had soon after coming to the cottages. Kathy says “Anyway, the point is, I’d had a few one-nighters shortly after getting to the Cottages. I hadn’t planned it that way. My plan had been to take my time, maybe become part of a couple with someone I chose carefully” (127). Kathy talks about how she has had “a few one-nighters” thus proving how she had explored with multiple boys. Because Kathy is still exploring with different boys, it is obvious that her commitment towards having a serious relationship is still low.


In the novel Never Let Me Go, it is made evident that Tommy has some sort of dysfunction when it comes to his mental health. The reason this health dysfunction is evident is because of the fact that Tommy is keeping his animal drawings a secret. It would make sense that he is keeping his drawings a secret due to the fact that he has some sort of fear and or anxiety deep down of someone finding out about them. In chapter 15, Tommy states, “I have been doing some stuff. Just in case. I haven’t told anyone, not even Ruth. It’s just a start” (178). Tommy describes to Kathy how he has been doing “some stuff” and that he has not “told anyone”. The fact that Tommy has not told anyone; even his closest friends about what he has been up to clearly shows that he has anxiety towards the subject, and has fears that there may be consequences if anyone were to find out.



A hyperbole is one of the few literary devices that is found in Never Let Me Go. A hyperbole is used at the begging of chapter 11 when Kathy is talking to Ruth about her unexpected urges to have sex. Kathy states “Sometimes it won’t be there for ages. Then it suddenly comes on” (128). While Kathy was explain her situation to Ruth, her main objective was to describe the intervals in which her urges for sex start and stop. For example, Kathy talks about how sometimes these urges would not come for “ages”. This statement is not meant to be taken literally as “ages” usually refers to a very long amount of time; usually years at a time. Through reading the novel it is made obvious that Kathy is still young during her time at the cottages. Furthermore, students only stay at the cottages for approximately two years. The term “ages” is just an exaggeration to express the fact of how these urges would come at random times. Because of the simple fact that Kathy’s urges did not occur in intervals of years at a time, it is evident that this statement was an exaggeration thus proving a hyperbole was used.


The literary device of flashback is evident is the novel Never Let Me Go when Kathy starts reminiscing about the old times at Hailsham. During this reminiscing period, Kathy talks about one the of the art pieces that had started off Tommy’s problems at Hailsham. “In fact, I have to admit, I was reminded of the original elephant-in-the-grass picture that had started off all Tommy’s problems at Hailsham”(178). When Kathy talks about Tommy’s “elephant-in-the-grass picture” at, she is giving account to an event prior to the scenario at hand, and as well as is giving information to the reader about what this prior event was about. Due to the fact that Kathy was talking about prior events while she was at the cottages, it is made evident that the literary device of flashback was being used.


The usage of imagery is portrayed in Never Let Me Go when Kathy gets out of the car when the crew arrives in Norfolk after the incident at the cafe …… Very soon after Kathy gets out of the car, she depicts a vivid usage of imagery. This is evident when Kathy describes her location and the surrounding within it. In the begging of chapter 14, Kathy States “We walked in silence, Rodney leading the way, through little backstreets hardly penetrated by the sun, the pavements so narrow we often had to shuffle along in single file” (156). This line vividly describes Kathy’s surroundings. She uses words such as “little backstreets” and “hardly penetrated by sun” which allows the reader to be able to visualize was going on during this scene and how it looked like.


The literary device of symbolism is made evident in Never Let Me Go through the setting when the crew is following Ruth’s possible “possible”. Kathy describes the setting when she says “It must have been around two o’clock by then, and the pavement was busy with shoppers. At times we nearly lost sight of her, but we kept up, loitering in front of window displays when she went into a shop, squeezing past pushchairs and old people when she came out again. Then the woman turned off the High Street into the little lanes near the seafront. Chrissie was worried she’d notice us away from the crowds, but Ruth just kept going, and we followed behind her.” (161). Initially, it might not make sense as to how a depiction of the setting may portray symbolism. Through closer analysis of Kathy’s explanation, it is made evident that the location that she is in is very similar to something as a maze. This symbolic element is used to explain how complicated it really is for a student to find their possible. Mazes are often meant to be perceived as being hard and confusing. Due to the fact that the students are going through a maze in order to find Ruth’s possible just comes to show how hard and confusing it really is to find ones possible. This further develops into the confusion and amount of work it takes for one to find out about themselves and their true identity as they are really just modeled off of their possible. In summary, in order for a student to find their identity, they must go through a complex and confusing “maze”.


In Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro encourages people to realize the true value of happiness through showing the lives of the clones, as their minimal source of happiness comes from false hope, memories and freedom.

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NLMG Notes Package. (2019, Dec 20). Retrieved from

NLMG Notes Package
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