Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro
Memory and the Past Quotes in Never Let Me Go
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
The earlier years—the ones I've just been telling you about—they tend to blur into each other as a kind of golden time, and when I think about them at all, even the not-so-great things, I can't help feeling a sort of glow. (7.1)
Looks like Kathy's wearing a big old pair of rose-colored glasses when she's looking at the past. To be fair, it does sound like Hailsham was a pretty awesome place to grow up.
I saw Harry fleetingly a couple of years ago at the recovery center in Wiltshire. […] I suppose there's no reason I should have any special place in his memory. We'd never had much to do with each other apart from that one time. To him, if he remembered me at all, I'd just be this daft girl who came up to him once, asked if he wanted sex, then backed off. (9.8)
Kathy understands that Harry may remember their experiences together differently than she does. In fact, she's been going on about Harry for pages and how important he was to her decision to have sex. In contrast, Harry might not remember Kathy at all. Even though they probably have shared memories of Hailsham, this is a reminder to Kathy that not everyone's memories are the same.
But then again, when I think about it, there's a sense in which that picture of us on that first day, huddled together in front of the farmhouse, isn't so incongruous after all. Because maybe, in a way, we didn't leave it behind nearly as much as we might once have thought. Because somewhere underneath, a part of us stayed like that: fearful of the world around us, and—no matter how much we despised ourselves for it—unable quite to let each other go. (10.13)
Kathy and her friends all have a tough time letting go of their shared past. What do you think of the image Kathy gives us here? To us, it sounds a bit like nesting dolls. Not only can the huddling friends not leave the past behind, but it's as if they keep their past selves tucked "somewhere underneath" their current ones.