Never Let Me Go
How we cite our quotes:
"I mean, don't you ever get tired of being a carer? All the rest of us, we became donors ages ago. You've been doing it for years. Don't you sometimes wish, Kath, they'd hurry up and send you your notice?"
I shrugged. "I don't mind. Anyway, it's important there are good carers. And I'm a good carer."
"But is it really that important? Okay, it's really nice to have a good carer. But in the end, is it really so important? The donors will all donate, just the same, and then they'll complete." (23.24-26)
Tommy's being quite the killjoy here. The way he figures it, everyone donates and completes, so why bother working so hard to be a carer? Do you think Tommy is being pessimistic? Or is he just being realistic?
Then he said: "I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it's just too much. The current's too strong. They've got to let go, drift apart. That's how I think it is with us. It's a shame, Kath, because we've loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can't stay together forever." (23.30)
Gosh that's a powerful image, and a mighty sad one. There's something so final in the way Tommy talks about letting Kathy go. To Tommy, there's nothing they can do to change their fate. It just is what it is, so they may as well give in.
Once I'm able to have a quieter life, in whichever centre they send me to, I'll have Hailsham with me, safely in my head, and that'll be something no one can take away. (23.47)
For Kathy, society might be able to take away her vital organs, but they won't take away her connection with Hailsham. Kathy sounds almost defiant here, even as she talks about yielding to her fate. She might be ready for a "quieter life" in a recovery center, but that doesn't mean she's willing to let go of her memories.