Study Guide

Never Let Me Go Chapter 21

By Kazuo Ishiguro

Chapter 21

  • So it's time for the third road trip of the novel: to visit Madame.
  • On the day of their trip, Kathy and Tommy first get his labs done and then head to Littlehampton. They see Madame walking in the town and follow her back to her house.
  • Outside her home, Kathy calls out to Madame, who looks just as scared as that time Kathy and her girlfriends bum-rushed Madame outside of Hailsham. Somehow Madame seems to know that they are clones. But how?
  • Madame invites them inside and the whole situation becomes pretty awkward and mysterious from the start. On the one hand, Madame has a picture of Hailsham in her house, so that's sweet. On the other, she's clearly frightened of the guests sitting right on her living room sofa, so that's, um, awkward.
  • The good news is that when Kathy starts to explain that they want to get a deferral, Madame stops seeming so intimidating. The bad news is that Madame appears confused about why they've come to her for this so-called deferral.
  • So Tommy explains his theory on Madame's Gallery, and things get awkward again. For a moment, Madame doesn't seem to know what this Gallery is.
  • But when she realizes that Tommy is referring to the art she collected from Hailsham students, she starts to piece the puzzle together. Madame understands that the Hailsham lovebirds think their art reveals their inner selves, so that's how she could test to see if they are really in love. We're thinking that the fact that Madame didn't even recognize the term "Gallery" at first isn't a good sign.
  • By the way, throughout this conversation Madame keeps interjecting weird questions like "Do I go too far?" and "Do we continue?" Kathy is confused at first, but then realizes that the questions are for someone else.
  • A mysterious voice eventually responds to Madame (and we learn that Madame's first name is Marie-Claude). Kathy also hears some mechanical noises. Creepy.
  • Madame heads into the hallway to push the mysterious guest's wheelchair into the living room. And that's when Tommy and Kathy come face to face with their old guardian, Miss Emily.