just completed (haha odd term to use wrt to the book) this in less than a week since i started reading it, which is quite a feat, because i’m usually one to finish books at snail’s pace. but this one was so captivating, i was hooked on it for hours at a time, chapter after chapter.
i really enjoyed the way Ishiguro created such a rich story on a very simple concept: the idea of using clones to donate organs in this futuristic world and it’s ethical implications.
the book explains at the end that clones are viewed by the world as lesser human beings, a way for the world or bury the need to consider the ethics of creating these beings for the sole reason for curing (previously incurable) diseases that afflict mankind. yet, in the story of the characters who are clones themselves, the themes Ishiguro touched upon the most were those of friendship and love, something universal to human beings. in doing so, it explains whole purpose of why Hailsham (the school the characters go to) was created.
at Hailsham, they believed that children, despite being clones, have souls and the capacity to feel emotions. hence, their intent was to normalize everything as much as possible wrt to the human way of life, to give the clones a childhood, and never telling them explicitly about their destiny.
so the characters grow up, receive bits and pieces of clues along the way through loopholes in the Hailsham system (the emo teachers who tend to blurt one too many bits of info when they’re teaching), manage to piece it all together and come to terms with their fate.
despite all of that, they’re hardly ever described as feeling depressed about the bleakness of their situation. neither do they try to break free from it. none of them ever thinks about running away. the only time they’ve tried to alter their fate is to seek a deferral of 3 years, which applies to couples who are in love. and even then, they’re extremely thoughtful about it, having considered their eligibility countless of times before actually seeking it.
and it got me thinking, that at the end of the day, the characters have no sense of their rights. and in that manner, they’re still relegated to lesser human beings. they never did question why they were created for such an inhumane purpose. it’s like they’ve never realized that there was ever an ethical issue about their existence until at the end when it was explained to them. even then, it didn’t change the way they went on with the rest of their lives until they completed (died).
i also found it strange that the theme of friendship overpowered that of love. but i suppose it’s because the clones have always thought of love as something that one needs to be extremely sure about, because that could get you a deferral from donations, and buy some time for you to spend with your other half.
sex, on the other hand, seems to be constructed to be a carnal need that is detached from emotion. the teachers at Hailsham tell them that they’ve been designed to be able to have sex without getting pregnant. and because they are different from human beings in that manner, that they should not need to feel emotions that come along with sex, as it is assumed that the possibility to be pregnant from sex also causes one to feel emotions that are attached to sex.
the female characters later on realize that they seem to have rather overwhelming sexual desires at times, which makes them want to have sex so badly with just about anyone. and they attribute this to the conspiracy theory that they were all being cloned from society junk: prostitutes.
very interesting though, this idea that the biological desire for sex is retained in a clone despite a different upbringing, and a different lifestyle. although none of them have ever encountered a “possible” (person you were cloned from) so it’s hard to compare in that manner.
the book has so much deep deep meaning that i alone could not analyze in a manner than would be coherent for writing. and i only wish i could’ve done this book in sec school lit, having someone point out the themes and all the underlying meaning that i may have missed out and could’ve been important in understanding the book.
gosh, i can only say, i highly recommend this book if you haven’t read it.
shall watch the movie soon, though i’m doubtful that it’s possible to capture the essence of every single scene in 1 hr and 30 mins.