Study Guide

Never Let Me Go Friendship

By Kazuo Ishiguro


The friendships in Never Let Me Go sure are complicated, but they're also very realistic. In the novel, just like in real life, friends fight, make up, have misunderstandings, support one another, and accidentally or purposefully hurt each other's feelings. When she's younger, all these little tiffs get to Kathy. But as an adult Kathy looks past all that stuff. Her flashbacks about Ruth and Tommy show us the ups and downs of friendship, but they also remind us just how enduring friendships can be.

Questions About Friendship

  1. What matters more to Kathy, her actual friends or her memories of friends? What about imaginary friends like Judy Bridgewater? 
  2. Are there ways Kathy is too dependent on her friends? Or too independent from her friends? What does the book suggest is the right balance? How can you tell?
  3. Is Kathy always a good friend? What about Tommy? Or Ruth? 
  4. How does Hailsham bring friends together? On the flipside, how does it tear friends apart?

Chew on This

Kathy depends on her friends and this is a very good thing. Without her friends, she has nothing left.

Kathy can stand on her own two feet. She doesn't really need her friendships and the novel argues that it's better to be independent and alone.