Study Guide

Never Let Me Go Identity

By Kazuo Ishiguro


Ah, the dreaded question: who am I? We've all stared this one down in the wee small hours of the morning. But Kathy and her friends have another question to answer as well: what am I? Understanding what it means to be a clone is a big part of Kathy figuring out who she is. She needs to decide if her identity is connected with the person she was modeled from, or if that doesn't matter at all. Kathy spends a great deal of Never Let Me Go mulling over who she is and how she relates to normal humans. In the end, you'll have to decide if you think Kathy finds her identity or not.

Questions About Identity

  1. In what ways is identity predetermined? Or is identity more about free will? Does the novel answer these questions? How might Kathy?
  2. What barriers keep Kathy and her friends from finding out who they really are? Are there ways for them to break down these barriers?
  3. What is the connection between a clone's identity and his or her original model? Why does Kathy think she'll understand her own identity better if she finds out who her model was?

Chew on This

Identity is entirely self-determined. Kathy needs to exercise her free will in order to understand who she really is.

Identity is predetermined by biology. If Kathy doesn't find her original model, she'll never know who she really is.