Study Guide

Never Let Me Go Art and Culture

By Kazuo Ishiguro

Art and Culture

In Never Let Me Go, the equation goes like this: being creative = being human. You can't have one without the other. It might sound harsh, but not everyone believes that clones like Kathy count as "human." So Miss Emily and Madame use art to prove that Hailsham students have souls just like the rest of us. This means that it's super important for the students at Hailsham to produce good artwork. Even though they don't know it, their status as "human" is at stake with each poem they write and painting they create. Sheesh, talk about pressure.

Questions About Art and Culture

  1. Does the novel represent different forms of art (like poetry, drawing, painting, sculpture) as equally valuable? What makes them valuable?
  2. What enables Tommy to be creative later in his life when he struggled so much at Hailsham? And how does his art change over time?
  3. Why is so much of the students' artwork centered on animals?

Chew on This

In the end, the students' art is meaningless. So maybe they should've never bothered creating art in the first place.

Art is valuable even if no one ever sees it. The novel argues that creating art helps you to become more uniquely you.