I just finished reading Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and while the novel is beautifully written, the dark overtones of a contemporary England setting sent chills down my spine. I’m glad that Jyg bought me the book because I would never had heard of it otherwise.
The book deals heavily with childhood fantasy – those daydreams where you once imagined yourself as a movie star, someone famous, a mother, even love, etc. – gone awry. Imagine living in a world where the people outside your surroundings are allowed to grow up to be whatever they want to be and you’re future is set for you. Imagine knowing that you’re different from everyone else and are hated for that. That others like you outside the gates of your private school are abused and mistreated and you’re given the lap of luxury. Imagine that your only purpose in life is to grow up, stay fit and healthy and give up you life in order for others to live. That is the life of the clones in Never Let Me Go, a narrative told through the eyes of Kathy H., a carer going on her twelfth year.
The clones are split up between carers and donors. It is up to the carers to keep the donors morale up as they are healing. But carers, when the time is right, are called for donations in the end. The clones are created in order to cure the maladies once thought as incurable. Cancer, in this dark new world, has a cure. That is the sole purpose of these “creatures.”
After realizing the purpose of the clones – and that they were clones – questions started leaking into my head and I’m sure it was Ishiguro’s intent. Because as students, the clones are taught art mainly, it is left the door open – and the question is asked late in the book – to ask, “Do clones have souls?” I know I’m not one to talk about souls, but the very fact that they are able to create without mimicing is what left that door open in a world where a god does reign over. Because some may not believe that humans have souls – I hold my doubts – then let me ask this: Because clones are copies of other people, do they have minds of their own? Each clone has a possible in the world – meaning a person they were modeled after. What are the chances that their future aspirations (even though they are not allowed a regular future) are the same as those their possibles had, or have? Not to mention the mannerisms and personality, are these their own or are they embedded in the cloned DNA?
On a more ethical question, seeing that the clones were raised as children into adulthood, only to “complete” during their 30s, you must ask if it’s ethical to harvest the clones for organs and the like? The sole purpose of their existence is to give up their lives so that others may live. However, it seems like a dark world to create a life in order to kill it. And this all comes back to the soul/mind questions: If these clones lack souls/minds, then one can say it is perfectly find to harvest them for parts so that others can live as they are no different than a lab rat who is given an ear to grow on its back. However, the fact that they have artistic talent, holding with traditional thought that one must have a soul to create art, proves that they do not lack this. The fact that they can feel love – or at least grasp the abstract concept of love and emotion – proves they have a mind. I cannot be certain that they have either, because their lessons are to model humans as closely as possible so that they are not pointed out in public places as they are feared by the majority of people.
If they have minds of their own, then the answer to the next question is yes. If they don’t, then there is no logic in the question, which is: Can clones logically believe in a higher power? Because they know how they came into existence was by human will rather than a divine power, it is hard to grasp if a clone can believe in a god. I won’t get too much into this question, so I’ll leave it at that.
Are clones seen as demons? Most Christians are already on a witch hunt to prove that homosexuals are sinful and spawns of hell, but at least homosexuals were born in a natural way even though their sex lives aren’t viewed as such. Because they were created, not born, into this world by science that is not natural biology, I have to assume that clones will be seen as something other than human. It’s not far from me to think that clones would be seen in a negative light by believers (well, most believers) yet be accepted as perfect donors because we know how ignorant some might be.
Anyway, these were the questions that I came up with reading the book. There might be more, but I’m sure these cover all of the fields.