Study Guide

Never Let Me Go Chapter 15

By Kazuo Ishiguro

Chapter 15

  • Tommy tries to cheer Kathy up about all this possibles talk by telling her that while they were in Woolworth's he was looking for that tape she lost all those years ago. Apparently Ruth had told Tommy about the Judy Bridgewater cassette tape when Kathy lost it at Hailsham. At the time, he'd tried really hard to find it but never could.
  • Remember how in Chapter 6 Kathy said she'd tell us later about the time they found the tape in Norfolk? Well, Shmoopers, that time has come.
  • They're in England's lost-and-found town, so Kathy and Tommy decide to see if they can find the tape together. As they set off on this adventure, they've gone from depressed to warm and fuzzy inside. Ah, friendship.
  • In a second-hand shop, Kathy finds the Judy Bridgewater tape. Score.
  • Tommy is excited for Kathy but he's also sad. All these years, he's imagined finding the tape for Kathy and giving it to her. How sweet is that?
  • Tommy buys the tape for Kathy and they leave the shop.
  • Then, out of the blue, Tommy brings up the idea of deferrals again. He tells Kathy that he's sure no one at Hailsham ever told them about deferrals. But if the rumors going around the Cottages that you can apply for a deferral are true, then that would explain the purpose of Madame's Gallery.
  • It all goes back to that tokens controversy at Hailsham. (For a refresher, pop back to Chapter 4 and revisit the scene. But here's a quick recap: the students wanted to receive tokens for the artwork taken away by Madame.)
  • Tommy reminds Kathy of an important detail that she hasn't told us yet. When Roy J. talked to Miss Emily about this tokens business, Miss Emily said that artwork is so important because it reveals your soul. Hmm, makes us think about digging up our old kindergarten finger paintings.
  • Tommy's theory goes like this: if two people from Hailsham are in love, the deferral application committee would need to see proof that their love is real. And if the higher-ups have been collecting their art, which reveals their souls, then they'd have all the evidence they'd need. The soul-revealing art would help them to weed out the couples who aren't really in love from the ones who are.
  • Kathy is intrigued. After all, this would explain quite a few things:
         (1) Why the guardians cared so much about Hailsham students being creative.
         (2) Why Miss Lucy told Tommy that it really is important for him to produce good artwork.
         (3) Why Madame would have gotten so upset when she saw Kathy swaying to "Never Let Me Go." (Kathy figures that Madame probably thought Kathy was pretending to hold her lover and not a baby.)
  • But then Kathy and Tommy have a sad realization: Tommy never got anything into the Gallery.
  • So Tommy tells Kathy something he's been keeping secret from everyone, even Ruth. He's been working on some drawings of imaginary animals. He figures it's good to have some soul-revealing artwork on hand, just in case. You never know when it might come in handy.
  • When Kathy and Tommy are back at the car and waiting for the others, they discuss Ruth's theory that their clone models are the riffraff of society. Tommy realizes that this clarifies why Kathy was looking through the porn magazines so quickly: she was trying to find her possible.
  • But why would Kathy's possible be a porn star? Kathy thinks that maybe her overwhelming urges to have sex might come from the model she was cloned from.
  • It's been an emotional afternoon for Kathy and Tommy, to say the least. But when Ruth, Rodney, and Chrissie return, everyone is in a good mood. So the car ride home is actually pretty enjoyable, and it's a good end to the road trip to Norfolk.