Study Guide

Never Let Me Go Chapter 12

By Kazuo Ishiguro

Chapter 12

  • Kathy wants to tell us about the trip to Norfolk. But, in true Kathy fashion, she wants to give some back-story first.
  • One day, toward the end of their first winter in the Cottages, Ruth tells Kathy that Chrissie and Rodney have made a potential discovery. While they were visiting a town up by Norfolk, they think they saw Ruth's "possible."
  • The notion of "possibles" isn't something Kathy has told us about yet, and she says that they are something the students never really talked about much at Hailsham or the Cottages. If you ask us, the list of things not to talk about is getting pretty long: sex, donations, becoming carers, prior Cottage inhabitants, and now possibles, whatever those are.
  • Kathy tells us what they are when she drops this bomb on us: "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" (12.10).
  • Um, excuse us? Did Kathy really need to wait until halfway through the novel to reveal that she and the others are clones?
  • Okay, so possibles are the normal folk that Kathy and her pals were copied from. When one of the clones goes out into the real world beyond the Cottages, they keep an eye out for these original models. (Talk about awkward encounters.) They aren't sure if the possibles would be older than them, like parents would be. Or perhaps the clones would have been copied from babies so the possibles would be their own age.
  • Yep, as usual, there are more questions than answers. Even so, apparently Chrissie and Rodney may have found Ruth's possible.
  • Kathy is skeptical of the whole thing, especially because Ruth is already worked up about hypothetical "dream futures" that she might have if she could work in an office before becoming a carer.
  • But despite her wariness, Kathy insists on going with Ruth to see this potential possible. And this is how Ruth, Kathy, Tommy, Chrissie, and Rodney end up taking a road trip to Norfolk.