Finding Comfort in Deception

Throughout the novel, Hailsham students (especially Ruth) repeatedly suppress and alter the truth in order to maintain their level of comfort. The students’ primary discomfort originates from the fact that they are different from those in the outside world, as they are genetically copied from a possible and are raised for the sole purpose of donations. To compensate, they turn to methods of escapism, such as reading books and lewd magazines. Each method evolves into its own form of deception, as students claim to read books they have not read and pretend that they have not seen these magazines that they have indeed read. Of the books, Kathy reflects that, “…there was an unspoken agreement to allow for a mysterious dimension where we went off and did all this reading” (123).  The others perpetuate the conformity of this, allowing it to continue by through ignoring what they know are outright lies.


Through reading books, scanning lewd magazines, and creating false fantasies, the students attempt to escape their harsh reality, if only for a moment.

Additionally, Ruth attempts to create a new narrative for Hailsham students which Kathy corroborates through her silence. By placing Hailsham students at a more elite level, Ruth creates an imaginary universe in which Hailsham students are able to rebel against their status and achieve the role they truly want. Kathy states that, “Ruth did say a few things every now and then to encourage the idea that, sure enough, in some mysterious way,a separate set of rules applied to us Hailsham students…she seemed confident I wound’t give her away. And of course, I didn’t” (145). In doing so, although the veterans begin with a higher social status than the Hailsham newcomers, Ruth allows for Hailsham students to have a higher status simply due to their educational background. She speaks of an amazing office job, implying that as a Hailsham student she has a higher chance of reaching this goal than those who attended different schools. Ruth fabricates the narrative to both enhance her status as a Hailsham student and create a fantasy that all are able to enjoy and convince themselves that it could occur. Through this, though the students most likely know that this cannot occur, they are all able to indulge in the fantasy for a brief period of time.


One thought on “Finding Comfort in Deception

  1. Hailsham students indeed try to alter the truth or avoid the truth often throughout the novel. In your post, you say they (Ruth in particular) do this to elevate the status of Hailsham students further, as well as to indulge in a fantasy. My question for you is this: why do they create the fantasy in the first place? What part of reality are they trying to avoid or change by creating the fantasy? Are they doing this consciously? Why does Ruth, along with the others, try so hard to ensure the Hailsham students a place high up on the social ladder at the Cottages? What is the point of social status? Questions aside, I think that the evidence that you use is perfect for the post that you have created, and that your argument is well supported. I very much enjoyed reading your post.


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