Ignorance: Wasted Time and Unnecessary Conflicts

In Never Let Me Go, there are many unspoken topics and secrets. The knowledge of the kids at Hailsham and the Cottages is very limited, which encourages them to make their own theories and explanations. Therefore, ignorance is not bliss in Hailsham. The kids’ ignorance leads to a lot of wasted time and uncertainty. There is no consistency in the society of Never Let Me Go because there are constant holes in the kids’ knowledge about many topics.

Some of the kids in Hailsham and the Cottages believe in the idea of having a possible. Possibles are defined as “the people who might have been the models for you and your friends” (139). They believe that finding their possible will give them an insight into what their future could look like. In the second part of the reading, Ruth, Tommy, Kathy, Chrissie, and Rodney take a trip to Norfolk with a goal of finding Ruth’s possible that Rodney claimed that he saw. However, the whole idea of finding your possible and why you would try to find your possible is unclear to the five of them. In frustration, Ruth says, “If you want to look for possibles, if you want to do it properly, then you look in the gutter. You look in rubbish bins. Look down in the toilet, that’s where you’ll find where we all came from” (166). Not fully understanding the idea of a possible creates frustration in Ruth, leading her to make her own conclusions out of anger. Ruth is applying her conclusion that she made out of anger to all Hailsham kids. She states that all of them originated from trash. Ruth’s ignorance about their origins leads to unnecessary anger and an awkward atmosphere in the car ride. Also, the five of them spent a lot of the day in Norfolk finding and following Ruth’s possible. Similar to the situation with Ruth and possibles, Tommy also makes his own theory about what art is used as evidence for (174-175). Because the kids do not know why Madame takes their art and puts it into her gallery, Tommy puts pieces together and creates his own theory. He assumes that Madame takes their art and puts it into her gallery so that she has evidence for whether or not two people are truly in love. If their art matches, then it means the two are truly lovers.

There are so many things that are unclear in Hailsham. In the novel, ignorance creates uncertainty, which leads to inconsistency. The topics that are not fully explained in Hailsham are still somewhat explained (like what art is used for), which creates many holes in the Hailsham kids’ knowledge. Because of this, there is a constant state of caution throughout the kids. The holes in their knowledge force them to always be careful about what they talk about since the topics that have holes in them are usually forbidden topics. The ignorance in Hailsham just leads to wasted time thinking about what could be. A lot of the kids’ time is used trying to put pieces together and creating explanations for unexplained topics. Also, ignorance leads to conflict because sometimes a theory of one person might not be accepted by another. For example, Tommy came up with a theory about their art being used as evidence for whether or not two lovers are actually in love (174-178). However, when Tommy tells Ruth about his theory, Ruth completely shuts his idea down, which ends up creating tension in the friendship of Tommy, Ruth, and Kathy (194). In this novel, ignorance does not do anyone any good, for it can lead to wasted time and unnecessary conflicts between good friends.


  1. Possible picture: http://sr.photos3.fotosearch.com/bthumb/CSP/CSP992/k12979861.jpg
  2. Art picture: https://d1ee3oaj5b5ueh.cloudfront.net/2013/11/528c9d9c57565.jpeg
  3. Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. Print.

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