Never Let Me Go
by Kazuo Ishiguro
Passivity Quotes in Never Let Me Go
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"It's funny," I said, "remembering it all now. Remember how you used to go on about it? How you'd one day work in an office like that one?"
"Don't you sometimes think," I said to Ruth, "you should have looked into it more? All right, you'd have been the first. The first one any of us would have heard of getting to do something like that. But you might have done it. Don't you wonder sometimes, what might have happened if you'd tried?"
"How could I have tried?" Ruth's voice was hardly audible. "It's just something I once dreamt about. That's all." (19.90, 92-93)
For all her dreaming, Ruth never actually tries to work in an office. And as Kathy points out to her, if you don't try, then you definitely won't succeed. To Ruth, it's as if there was no point in trying in the first place. Way to have a positive attitude, Ruth. Here Ruth's submissive outlook seems pretty different than the younger, more defiant powerhouse we got used to seeing.
"I can see," Miss Emily said, "that it might look as though you were simply pawns in a game. It can certainly be looked at like that. But think of it. You were lucky pawns. There was a certain climate and now it's gone. You have to accept that sometimes that's how things happen in this world." (22.41)
This idea that the Hailsham students are pawns in a game makes a lot of sense to us. Just like pawns, they have very little control over their lives. Instead, someone else is pushing them around the board and they passively follow suit. We're thinking that this sounds like the least fun game of chess ever.
I caught a glimpse of his face in the moonlight, caked in mud and distorted with fury, then I reached for his flailing arms and held on tight. He tried to shake me off, but I kept holding on, until he stopped shouting and I felt the fight go out of him. (22.95)
Tommy is upset after he and Kathy have visited Miss Emily and learned that there are no deferrals. We'd be pretty upset, too. Tommy's tantrum in this cow field is one of the few moments where we see one of the clones fighting against the role society has given them, even though it doesn't do him any good. And in the end, even Tommy gives in and stops fighting once and for all.