Seeking Truth to Find Motivation

Seeking truth is difficult. We know this through our own lives when we flee from confrontation and clarification. In fleeing from facing truth, we flee from discomfort or “awkward” situations. For the characters of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, this discomfort is rooted in the possibility that as organ donors, they are constantly judged on how they are like “inside…reveal[ing their] soul[s]” based on their artwork (Ishiguro 175). We see such tendency to avoid confronting truth through Kath’s response to Tommy’s theory that the artworks are designed to keep a track record of their capability to love. In particular, her efforts to divert from reaching the cold truth are accentuated when she realizes the extremely low chance of Tommy’s deferral, according to the theory. Prior to this realization, Kath still asks for further detail about the theory, asking questions like “so what are you getting at?” and nodding in agreement (175-176). However, once it strikes her that because Tommy hasn’t been chosen for his artwork, ever, she convinces him and herself about the flaws of the theory. She says, “maybe the art’s just one out of all kinds of different ways” (177). Even when she ponders the fact that the Madame watching her dancing to the song Never Let Me Go further confirms Tommy’s theory, she oversimplifies this by saying “I was just thinking over what you said, that’s all” (177). Important to note is that inherent to avoiding truth is lingering ambiguity.

08f57ce51620e9608e57e9768672f7e1d18acde4c423397c4671fa7a90e3083a_1

Often we deny, reject and suppress truth because it discomforts us. Tommy does so in response to Miss Lucy’s urge to accept the importance of art and Kath does so in response to Tommy’s theory of why the Gallery is pivotal to their survival. This rejection of truth prevents progression to motivation to alter the consequences.(https://ifunny.co/tags/rejecting/1424795240)

Through Tommy’s effort to discover the purpose behind the artworks, he is motivated to start creating his own artwork (187). In other words, by confronting the truth that his theory leads to his very low chance of deferral, he finds motivation to try to survive by creating whatever artwork he can. This is ironic because previously he had avoided creating artwork to socially survive; he had found comfort in denying the pressure to produce art, and possible reasons to do so. By creating a marked shift in Tommy’s efforts and products, the novel points to the fact that a confrontation to truth and reality is necessary to define our own goals in life. Prior to the formulation of his theory about the Gallery, Tommy avoids thinking about artwork, apparent through his apathetic responses to Miss Lucy’s warning. While Miss Lucy constantly pushes him to accept that artwork “is important”, he repeats, “It’ll be alright, Miss” (108-109). This very act demonstrates his flee from truth and discomfort from regret in not having done art his whole life, and the possibly threatening consequences. In this scene, ambiguity as to why the artwork may be important and what function the Gallery serves is highly ambiguous. Further, Tommy does not have goals in life than simply walking the path paved for them as organ donors. However, when Tommy comes up with the purpose and importance of art, he produces ingenious artwork himself. He fights to survive, “draw[ing] with obsessive precision” (187). In such ways, the novel highlights the difference between passively accepting a given future, marked by ambiguity and flee from discovering truth, and actively hoping for a different future, achieved only after truth is (somewhat, through active theorizing) revealed. In sum, Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go points at the necessity of clearing ambiguity and seeking truth even when it leads to discomfort because it is only after understanding true consequences that we find motivation to take control of our own lives– to do whatever we can to work future to our favor.

Works Cited

Ishiguro, Kazuo. “Part Two.” Never Let Me Go. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. Print.

Culture of Silence: Ignorance is Not Bliss

In Kazuo Ishigaro’s novel, Never Let Me Go, ignorance is not bliss as the failure to explicitly and directly address the identity and lives of the children who grew up in Hailsham creates a dual reality in which the societal members experience discomfort for which they are unable to attribute cause, which suggests for our society that choosing to ignore reality does not eliminate the consequences but prevents adequate diagnosis and treatment.

culture-of-silence

The novel is introduced from Kathy’s perspective and from her we learn a lot about the society’s publically undiscussed topics. Unmentioned topics include sex, becoming carers, donations, and now “possibles” (Ishiguro 139). Kathy explains, “Since each of us was copied at some point from a normal person, there must be, for each of us, somewhere out there, a model getting on with his or her life” (Ishiguro 139). We are just now learning that the children from Hailsham are cloned individuals and that their ‘possibles’ are the normal individuals from which the children were cloned. It is remarkable that Kathy seems to mention this just by chance due to the sighting of Ruth’s possible and that this is just accepted without any critical examination by Kathy. She does not make the logical leap that she was cloned to be an organ reservoir for her possible and that this is the reason for her existence. She doesn’t consider the meaningfulness of this information. Kathy simply mentions it in passing and admits that it is not something that is discussed. To simply ignore this reality that she lives in does not make her life blissful in any meaningful way. Yes, perhaps it would be discomforting to acknowledge the cruel reality of life but to fail to acknowledge one’s identity and reality will not change the consequences but rather limit ability to act. Instead of experiencing discomfort from recognition of their reality, the children from Hailsham go on to experience trouble from the consequences of donating their organs and discomfort from creating a culture in which many things are not discussed. Kathy experiences substantial discomfort when Ruth breaks the unspoken rule to not use secrets as weapons in their fights (Ishiguro 129). In this case the culture of silence directly creates discomfort due to failure to discuss leading to unrealistic expectations. Certainly this failure to discuss issues of importance is something that we can find in our personal lives and in our own society in many areas such as race relations, climate change, and economic inequality. Ignorance is certainly not bliss as failure to address these issues carries real consequences.

 

Literature Cited:

Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. Print.

Blog Prompt for Week 15

As I mentioned in class, your final blog post will be based on the discussion questions you formulated in your groups. Keep in mind that this post should be based on the reading due for next Tuesday (11/29). Also, don’t choose your own question–challenge yourself to answer another group’s question in order to expand your thinking on the novel.

Here are the prompts you guys came up with today:

  • What evidence in the novel points to how the children perpetuate the conformity of Hailsham? How do they prevent information from being revealed? What opportunities do they lose in the process?
  • What is art being used as evidence for?
  • Is ignorance bliss in Hailsham? Are the kids truly ignorant of their true identities? What role does ignorance play in the novel?
  • What does the novel suggest about seeking truth even if it may lead to discomfort?

Happy blogging and, more importantly, happy Thanksgiving!