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Themes

You know how sometimes your parents or teachers lie to you to shield you from something they don't think you're ready to know? Remember how much you hated that as a kid? There's a mighty fine line between lying to someone and protecting them and Never Let Me Go plays with that line. This novel gives us two options: Team Miss Emily or Team Miss Lucy. You might agree with Miss Emily that ignorance is bliss. Or you might agree with Miss Lucy that it's better for the Hailsham students to know their fate. So which team are you on?

Questions About Lies and Deceit

  1. Are the Hailsham guardians protecting the students by hiding their fate? Or are they lying to them? What is the difference?
  2. By the end of the book, do Kathy and Tommy think it's better to know the truth or be kept in the dark? How do you know?
  3. Does Kathy ever lie to herself? What about Ruth? Or Tommy? And is self-deception a good or a bad thing? What makes you say so?
  4. Does Kathy ever deceive her readers, or is she completely truthful? Can you be sure?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The novel supports Team Miss Emily. Lying is a necessary part of life, and the novel argues that lying to children is the best way to create and ensure happiness.

The novel supports Team Miss Lucy. Lies are always wrong, so people should tell the truth no matter what. Then maybe the clones would have been able to fight back against their oppression.

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