Study Guide

Never Let Me Go Chapter 9

By Kazuo Ishiguro

Chapter 9

  • Kathy is still inside her flashback about sex and how Ruth and Tommy broke up.
  • Shortly after their split, a few girls imply to Kathy that she is Ruth's "natural successor" and will end up dating Tommy next (9.3). All this time Kathy has been planning to sleep with Harry C. But this talk of her being a successor to Ruth has her even more confused about sex than before.
  • To make things even more complicated, in the midst of all this sex stuff Ruth comes to Kathy for a favor.
  • Ruth tells Kathy that she wants Tommy back. And she wants Kathy to help her out by talking to Tommy and convincing him that it'll be better the second time around.
  • Yeah, because it's always a good idea to get a third person involved in a romantic tiff. Any job that comes with a catch phrase like "don't shoot the messenger" can't be all that much fun.
  • Nonetheless Kathy agrees to play mediator between Ruth and Tommy. But first she wants to make sure that Ruth isn't just trying to hurt the guy. And Kathy also keeps repeating that she's the best person to talk to Tommy. Looks like there's a wee bit of power play going on here—maybe even a budding love triangle?
  • When Kathy talks to Tommy, she discovers that he's not all that torn up over the break-up with Ruth. Instead, he's got something else stuck in his teeth—something that happened with Miss Lucy.
  • Tommy tells Kathy that he had another discussion with Miss Lucy about being creative. Miss Lucy told him that it was a mistake for her to have told him not to worry about creativity. The truth, she says, is that his art is extremely important.
  • And here's the cryptic reason why: "it's evidence" (9.39). But evidence of what?
  • When Tommy asks if this has to do with Madame's Gallery, Miss Lucy confirms that it does and that the Gallery is important. So Tommy really should try harder at being creative, and right away, before it's too late. All of a sudden, being artsy has become the be-all-end-all of Tommy's world. He'd better get cracking on some stick figure drawings, pronto.
  • Kathy wants to dissect this newest info from Miss Lucy with Tommy, but she realizes that first she's got a mission to accomplish. So she gets straight to the point and tells Tommy that Ruth wants to get back together. Kathy does her best to convince Tommy that the best thing he can do is be with Ruth, but Tommy doesn't seem so eager.
  • The next day, big news travels through Hailsham: Miss Lucy has left the school. For good. Kathy tries to find Tommy so he can hear the news from her. After all, she knows just how much Miss Lucy meant to Tommy. But Tommy had already found out, and was all kinds of bummed.
  • And how does Tommy deal with the loss of his favorite teacher? By getting back together with Ruth. Welp!