Monday, May 26, 2014

Humanity in Dystopian Background of ‘Never Let Me Go’

Contoh Ulasan Novel

Humanity in Dystopian Background of ‘Never Let Me Go’
by Kazuo Ishiguro: Deprived and Limited; 
Can It Defend Itself?

Surajwaran Mangaleswaran, Muhammad Fadhli Bin Aminuddin, 
Mohamad Iqbal Afham Bin Mohd Afandi, Al Arimi Bin Mohd, 
Wan Nazira Binti Che Nor, W. Syazwani Nasuha Binti Wan Mazlan

Humanity. To what extent do humans stop and ponder upon this one word? Do they speak about it loudly only when wars erupted, killing thousands of innocent children? Or when there is a woman being raped repeatedly by several men at a time? Or maybe when there are neighbours screaming at night out of terror but no one comes to help for the fear that humanity is about service of the court? These examples of humanity being wronged are clear. They speak for themselves. But the connotations they ring in humans’ minds are subjective. It is scary and frightening the moment you realize that more people are concerned about the news itself, rather than the victims’ situations. People are concerned about wars; but do they pause for a while thinking about a mother crying and praying in front of the graves of all of her children, died in one single attack? Or the emotional burdens and psychological pain of the raped woman that she may finally hope death is there to save her? Or of those people screaming in terror? Because we tend to reflect on our position first- wars are not in my country, it is not my children who died, it is not my sister being raped and it is not my mother screaming out of terror. It is not happening to us, so why bother at all? Some people, maybe more in figures than what we could imagine, think this way and are not ashamed of their own thought. Humanity is served; claimed them- served because they are safe, while others suffer.

            How about those who are groomed in a happy environment especially so that they will suffer later? They were given life; so that they can be killed. How does the word humanity respond to this situation, and to what level it is being dehumanized? Based on the Oxford Dictionaries, one of the definitions of humanity is the quality of being humane; benevolence. It underlies actions of humans towards people around them. But, not necessarily it will be served in its fundamental manner. We do, after all, have conflicts of interests. There are some people who hide behind the face of humanity to permit their violent actions- like attacking a country without solid reason; directly switching off the lives of the innocent citizens due to unsupported claims. Yes, issues of this kind are the issues that revolve around the importance of a group of people- around their needs, their cares and their positions. How about single individuals? Let’s say, if these individuals have certain shortcomings would they want to think twice of the helps offered to them; even if acceptance means serious physical or psychological pains to the sacrificing ones? In certain situations, yes, people can shake off the offer- dismissing it as an act of nobility. How about in life-threatening situations? Kill yourself or kill others?

            The novel ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro has addressed these crucial questions in such a way that readers nod their heads to the contrasting aspects of humanity and yet made them wonder in utter bewilderment, what has led them to nod. It is a great writing that discusses values of humanity from the bottommost aspect of being a human and how they are reflected in the life of its characters. The reasons we pick humanity out of so many other values depicted in the story are; it is a fundamental concern for the existence of the clones which is their purpose of life- to die to let normal humans survive; yet the creation of these clones itself speaks contrasted values of humanity more audaciously than ever.

As a start, we agreed to choose and write about a dystopian novel entitled ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro based on several reasons. One of them is because the elements used in the novel especially the characters; has been able to reflect the main theme of the story. This will lay a deeper understanding in the sense that the relation of the crucial elements in the novel can be connected with each other in a pack and meaningful way. Also, the novel’s major focus which is on cloning, stands out in its relevancy which sparks great debate in today’s world.

The novel is mainly about clones that are raised in a school-like environment known as Hailsham. In Hailsham, the clones are taught about mostly everything like the normal people were but the only different aspect of their life is their existence had been set for a reason- organ harvesting which is the only and sole purpose of them living in this world. Taking a glimpse at the issues of humanity, at a particular stage, they will have a number of operations where their organs will be taken away for the sake of normal people’s life. In this novel, these students of Hailsham, like any other bearing the title clone will be sent to places such as The Cottages. This place signifies the start of a practical period for them to learn about the outside world since, as depicted in the novel, the characters had never left Hailsham. Here at the Cottages, the focus is on the three major characters who are Kathy H., Ruth and Tommy. They have to deal with a number of problems and dwell in bigger questions of their life in adapting to the outside world. The explanation that follows later will take into account three constructive aspects- discussion of humanity while adhering to dystopian world and the term cloning. These three aspects are hoped to define each other better as the writing progresses.

Based on a research done by Richardson (1998), cloning refers to a proposed technique for the reproduction of whole human organisms, possesses inherent moral flaws and legal contradictions that point to a violation of something basic in the created order. Cloning is a violation to the living creatures because the clones produced carry the same genetic values as the original creature. It is a process of duplicating something beyond the limits of what human being should believe in. Cloning does not only being opposed by the scientific field but also by religions in the world like Islam and Christian. Those who believe in god would say that this act is only the work of a god; without any creation’s interference.
The writer touches this issue intelligently from an element to another element in the story. For an example, the way it is being revealed to the readers. Being a serious matter, the author still does not fail to create a peace environment at first through the narration of Kathy H. But, as a reader progresses, he could not help but notice there is something fishy somewhere.  Through the existence of the school called Hailsham, for example; where students have never stepped out from the school compound which cannot be considered normal. It is undeniably out of the norms and illogical if we look at it from a normal human’s perspective. After a few events, we slowly learn the reality faced by Kathy and her friends that the condition they are experiencing is due to the fact that they are not normal human beings. As the story progresses, Kathy also never mentions anything about her parent. The fact that she never had one is strongly supported by the words of one of the teachers in Hailsham known as Miss Lucy who is against the system the clones are in- practically also revealing the fact of the existence of clones to both the readers, which struck the clones themselves.

“Your lives are set out for you. You’ll become adults, then before you’re old, before you’re even middle-aged, you’ll start to donate your vital organs. That’s what each of you was created to do. You’re not like the actors you watch on your videos, you’re not even like me. You were brought into this world for a purpose, and your futures, all of them, have been decided. (Chap. 7, pg. 81)

As the storyline progresses, these issues of clone and cloning become more serious.

“For the most part being a carer’s suited me fine. You could even say it’s brought the best out of me. But some people aren’t just aren’t cut out for it, and for them the whole thing becomes a struggle. They might start of positively enough, but then comes all that time spent so close to the pain and the worry. A sooner or later the donor doesn’t make it, even though, say, it’s only the second donation and no one anticipated complications. When a donor completes like that, out of the blue, it doesn’t make much difference what the nurses say to you afterwards, and neither does that letter saying how they’re sure you did all you could and to keep up the good work. For a while at least, you’re demoralised.”  (Chap. 18, pg. 207)

“How can you ask a world that has come to regard cancer as curable, how can you ask such a world to put away that cure, to go back to the dark days? There was no going back. However uncomfortable people were about your existence, their overwhelming concern was that their own children, their spouses, their parents, their friends, did not die from cancer, motor neurone disease, heart disease. So for a long time you were kept in the shadows, and people did their best not to think about you. And if they did, they tried to convince themselves you weren't really like us. That you were less than human, so it didn't matter.” (Chap. 22, pg. 263)

Coming to normal humans, why do they regard these clones as unreal? Because there is still conscience left to consider? In the story, author uses the word donors which means clones that donate their organs while carers are the clones who applied to be in charge of the donors while the process of donating organs is in progress. But, it is not a choice- rather an obligation before donation of organs start. Their duty is to look after the donors before and after the process of organ donation. The carers are bounded in some ways which will be elaborated later- another issue of cloning. Towards the end, the carers will also become donors as they should also, like their friends, fulfil the main reason of their existence.

Referring back to the extracts above, it is learned that after several organ donations, the donors will die. The issue of humanity strikes here besides some other parts of the novel. One of the simple reasons is because, the clones do have feelings just like normal humans. It is of course, very inhumane to create living creatures with subjective and objective feelings for a purpose that lead straight to their death- regardless what the reason is. The system also seems more brutal as the party in charge of managing the donation is from their own kind. Even in our normal system of living, people who take advantage on other people’s weakness is seen as defective. In simpler words, they were manipulated to betray their own species where they do not feel it to be so; which makes it look meaner. More importantly, does the normal society could answer this- since when do people can be given responsibility to snap out the life of others for the sake of others? This is a clear anomaly. How do we feel if we were asked to kill our kind just to satisfy the needs of another kind? Addressing these questions are very significant to the issues of humanity and the main theme of the novel- dystopia, which will be discussed in deeper details later.


The term ‘utopia’ was coined circa 1516 by Thomas More. Literally meaning “no place”, it describes an island where everything is perfect. A “dystopia”, then, would be a negative utopia, a place in which everything is imperfect. There is some debate between the terms “dystopia” and “anti-utopia” (Ferris, 2010).

This is one of the most reliable definitions of dystopia based on a research done by Harley Ferris in 2010 regarding dystopian fiction. In his study, he claimed that a dystopian society is ruled by a group with a private agenda shrouded in euphemisms or outright lies. This group will use conditioning or coercion to maintain their rule; which often also mirrors real-world systems such as communism, apartheid and the Roman Catholic Church. In relation to the novel storyline, the claim made by Ferris actually reflects the agenda or the purpose of the clones’ creation. The greater or upper power controls the clones in order to benefit human being. There is no consideration about the thoughts of the clones in the novel showing how powerful the upper group is- and not also a single indication of their unsatisfactoriness regarding their situations. Dystopia also reflects an imagined universe in which oppressive societal control and the illusion of a perfect society are maintained through corporate, bureaucratic, technological, moral or totalitarian control.

The powerful controlling group discussed above, or the upper people, regulates most aspects of the individual’s existence, everything from one’s daily routine to their family unit and career (Ferris, 2010). In the study, he also claimed that the individual is not important as anything more than a part of the whole. As long as the status quo is maintained, the individual is typically safe, anonymous in the crowd- like the strands of hair; if cut will not leave a mark to your body. This implies to the clone community in the novel where their existence is being disregarded by the normal people. They are looked at like they are unworthy creatures- even when they have the same qualities as other humans. The controlling group also controls the routine of the clones, which is reflected more especially through the carer. For example, in the novel, Kathy describes her duty as a carer through the following lines:

“You spend hour after hour, on your own, driving across the country, centre to centre, hospital to hospital, sleeping-in overnight, no one to talk to about your worries, no one to have a laugh with. You’re always in a rush, or else you’re too exhausted to have a proper conversation. Soon enough, the long hours, the travelling, the broken sleep have all crept into your being and become a part of you, so everyone can see it, in your posture, your gaze, the way you move and walk.” (Chap. 18, pg. 207-208)
This is one of the explicit examples of how the writer elaborates further about the dystopia background of the novel and at the same time giving attention to the issue of cloning. Kazuo Ishiguro has indeed intelligently manipulated the impact of dystopia to the story as he pulls out the sense of humanity in a tragic way through the routine of the carer- tragic in terms of feelings and unimaginable loneliness the carer had to undergo. In addition, he also includes the perception of the normal people, the unaffected ones, when they are aware of the clones living in their world. This dystopian background also shapes most of the normal peoples’ mind when they see these clones as unworthy creatures that had been created only for their benefit and simply not more than that. This sensing leads to an understanding that there is a great barrier between normal human beings and the clones and they do not deserve equal rights over mostly everything as stated in:

“Art students, that’s what we thought we were. Do you think she’d have talked to us like that if she’d known what we really were? What do you think she’d have said if we’d asked her? ‘Excuse me, but do you think your friend was ever a clone model?’ She’d have thrown us out”. (Page 266)


From the points discussed above, we hope that it is more than enough to steer this writing to questions on humanity and the issues around the word.

Taking into account some Islamic scholarly articles and the book ‘Ascent of Humanity’ by Charles Eisenstein, essential aspects towards construction and de-construction of humanity in the novel will be discussed further. These references are both taken into consideration as they defend concepts of humanity and not going against them. Points discussed later are based from these references and some most meaningful and important events from the story before paying attention to the conflicting issues rose from those events. Do take note that there will be repetitions of the examples taken from the novel as to stress the meaning around them more clearly and strongly.

            The major characters, or the clones are indeed preserved in their environment if referring directly to their school. It may seem to be normal yet acts like a hood that hides the ugly reality behind it like what had been explained above. What is the ugly reality meant? It refers to the intention of the people who place them in the environment- the intention of making them as replacement parts for other humans which sounds mean, yet the normal society finds it undeniable. The issue of humanity that lies in this intention is, they do want their beloved ones or themselves to stay healthy; but create lives to be killed for that? Talking of environment, basically normal humans believe that a good environment nurtures, not otherwise. It becomes the base to throw the seeds- the base to develop hopes, will and dreams towards positive outcomes. Normal humans live up in their good environment to welcome the maximum everything- maximum satisfaction, maximum happiness, maximum state of health. On the contrary, the clones can hold on to their own will; but administering it in their life? They can, yes, have their hopes and dreams; but does the society permit their dreams’ and hopes’ maximum achievement? In short, the society that breeds the clones clings to humanity when dealing with them, but hope, in the same time to dehumanize the values when the time comes. They provide the environment needed for these humans to grow like other humans, because they intend to hide behind the ugly truth of their deepest intention, of their own disgusted, disguised hope.

The following discussion will adopt a closer, and hopefully more scrutinized look to the practices that the normal humans applied to the clones; and how these practices have caused the life’s essentials of the clones’ lives and life.

Significant Events- Reflection of Deprivation of Humanity

Regarded as dystopian novel, it is a conscious thought to speak of what is being deprived from the storyline of the novel- one of them being humanity. Dystopia, adopting another definition, defined by Oxford Dictionaries as an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one. These criteria are of course apparent characteristics of the word, but the novel, in the hand of the author, carries even meaner meaning than that. The word environment here, is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates.

Looking closer at the atmosphere created in the novel, it tells the story of the life of Hailsham students in an environment where actually a lot of things are humane- surrounded also by the air of cheerful laughter of youth. Indeed, Hailsham fits the criteria of an elite boarding school. There is sports pavilion, as described by Kathy of its building, “..standing on the far side of the playing fields, little white prefab buildings with a row of windows unnaturally high up, tucked almost under the eaves” (Chap. 1, p. 6). There is also beautiful surrounding- “ could take a short cut through the rhubarb patch. Anyway, once you came out to the pond, you’d find a tranquil atmosphere waiting, with ducks and bulrushes and pond-weed” (Chap. 3, p. 25). Besides, there is depiction of good guardian (practically teacher in the normal world) in Chapter 2, page 19, “Miss Geraldine was everyone’s favourite guardian when we were that age. She was gentle, soft-spoken, and always comforted you when you needed it, even when you’d done something bad, or been told off by another guardian.” These evidences, and more others, show clearly that they were not deprived of food, care or affection, nor were they left in any degraded way, abandoned to suffer in some lonely dark places.

But, as the storyline progresses, one could not help but notice there is something catchy, something fishy, something shaky behind the words and ideas popped up while reading through. As what had been mentioned before, it is not like something which is immediate, rightly obvious to be grasped by the mind; but rather some thoughts that hover in the mind unsure of their places- thoughts that are evocative while in the same time being mysterious. They make you answer questions with questions. For example, Tommy, one of the main characters, said that, “No, I don’t think she meant that. What she was talking about was, you know, about us. What’s going to happen to us one day.” (Chap. 3, p. 29). What will happen to them? Another one was by Kathy, in chapter 3, page 36, “..waiting for the moment when you realise that you really are different to them; that there are people out there, like Madame, who don’t hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you- of how you were brought into this world and why- and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs.”

There are reasons why we brought up these kinds of examples again. It is actually to show how contrastive the ideas these lines portray. Like what had been indicated earlier, there is nothing wrong in the school’s environment; yet the words coming out from the characters evoke deprivation of humanity. The following examples are hoped to give clearer view to what this writing stands on.

Humanity Dehumanized in Humanely Constructed Environment

It is not the issues of humanity that will be discussed under this heading yet; but the conditions in which the students are being shown values of humanity, in order to prepare them for the dehumanized purpose of their existence. The examples below will show how bittersweet this irony has been implemented to the extent that the clones still keep on living seem-to-be normal life, clinging to each other for faith while indeed being hidden in dark shadows people do not wish to come any closer. As the novel is divided into the following phases; Hailsham, the Cottages and their adult life of being carers and donors, selected quotes taken will be based on these three separate phases. These selected quotes will become a strong base in relation to the issues discussed later.

Hailsham- The Elite Boarding School

1.                  The Gallery

The existence of the Gallery is a clear wonder. As writer comes across this word, it sparks some kind of interest towards something precious and something grand that is both beautiful and priceless. The Gallery is actually an assumed place where it gathers every piece of the most creative art work of the students of Hailsham. The art work will in turn gain them Exchange Tokens that can be used to buy other students’ creative art works (Chap. 2, p. 16). It is first mentioned in chapter 3, page 30. Kathy and Tommy were discussing the subject- about the real reason of its existence. On page 30, Kathy asked, “But what is her gallery? She keeps coming here and taking away our best work... Why should she have a gallery of things done by us?”. Tommy answered to this by saying that maybe she sells them. Kathy further theorised that the Gallery has something to do with what Miss Lucy said to him. Beforehand, Miss Lucy had brought up a new subject for both of them to think of. It was not something readily assumed, but the very idea connects itself with the existence of the Gallery. In chapter 2, page 23, Tommy said, “Well... The thing is, it might sound strange. It did to me at first. What she said was that if I didn’t want to be creative, if I really didn’t feel like it, that was perfectly all right. Nothing wrong with it, she said.” Besides, the air of mysteriousness surrounding the Gallery was added by Kathy’s narration, “Certainly, it hadn’t been from the guardians: they never mentioned the Gallery, and there was an unspoken rule that we should never even raise the subject in their presence” (Chap. 3, pg. 31).

            Why, actually, do they discuss the Gallery? Is it so important? If it does, why then, do the guardians dismiss the subject? Does it carry profound evidence to claim that the Gallery deprives the very thought of humanity? Explanation provided under issues of humanity later hopes to answer these questions.

2.            Miss Lucy’s Disapproved Statements and Her Dismissal from the School

Miss Lucy is one of their guardians, as noted above. Compared to other guardians, she is more outspoken in her ways of dealing with the students. The first one is the mention of the creative topic to Tommy- that it is okay for Tommy not being creative while the Gallery signifies unique, individual creations of each of the student. Of course then, it is important. Thus, what propels her to say so? Another example of her statement was given as an answer to Polly’s question- why does Madame take their things. She said, in chapter 4, page 40, “All I can tell you today is that it is for a good reason. A very important reason. But if I tried to explain it to you now, I don’t think you’d understand. One day, I hope, it’ll be explained to you.” If other guardian would have dismissed such a question, she actually went around it without touching the vital part of it which made the idea behind it more mysterious than ever.

But, this statement is nothing compared to what comes next in chapter 7, page 81.

“The problem, as I see it, is that you've been told and not told. You've been told, but none of you really understand, and I dare say, some people are quite happy to leave it that way. But I'm not. If you're going to have decent lives, then you've got to know and know properly. None of you will go to America, none of you will be film stars. And none of you will be working in supermarkets as I heard some of you planning the other day. Your lives are set out for you. You'll become adults, then before you're old, before you're even middle-aged, you'll start to donate your vital organs. That's what each of you was created to do.”

From this statement alone, it is enough to decipher the purpose of their existence. For the first time it seems, humanity is placed at its right position. Placed only, but not served; as she believes in the students knowing their purpose of life which will help them lead decent lives but she knows that she cannot go further than that. She was later dismissed from the school in chapter 9, page 111- for putting some effort to place humanity justly.

The Cottages

The cottages phase starts with the starting of Part Two, from Chapter 10 onwards before coming to Part Three. After the students had gone through their life in Hailsham, they were transferred to many places like this which bore different names. Here, they lead their own life where there is no guardian to watch over them, advising them on things or impart into them new knowledge. They are indeed together in practical, but alone, holding tightly to their own string of life. Why? Because this place is also a place where they are expected to mingle around with students from different schools, where they were exposed more to media especially television and magazines and no one to guide them to understand these new sources of information as it is a fact that they were never exposed to the outside world during Hailsham time. There were many things happening around here but we will focus on two most morally degraded thought and environment where the clones may see them to be a sort of a topic for a talk, yet normal people do identify the darkness in the very idea.

1.            The ‘possible’

In real world, the word ‘possible’ from the context of the novel will never exist. It is prohibited to do cloning of humans (Anon, 2003). This word means for every cloned student, there is someone out there who is their model as explained before. Biologically of course not, but in physical appearance- the original form of the person who was born naturally. In truth, what is the idea hidden behind the word? Kathy narrated as following, “The basic idea behind the possibles theory was simple, and didn't provoke much dispute. It went something like this. Since each of us was copied at some point from a normal person, there must be, for each of us, somewhere out there, a model getting on with his or her life” (Chap. 12, p. 139). The humanity issue raised in this point is obvious, but we will come to that later.

2.            The false freedom

In the cottages, they had the chance to travel around. As Kathy said it, “seeing veterans packing their bags and rucksacks and going off for two or three days at a time with what seemed to us scary nonchalance. We'd watched them with astonishment, wondering if by the following summer we'd be doing the same. Of course, we were, but in those early days, it didn't seem possible. You have to remember that until that point we'd never been beyond the grounds of Hailsham, and we were just bewildered” (Chap. 10, p.119). Besides that, a conscious reader would realize how dark the place is, both in thought and environment. In chapter 10, page 116, “There was an old farmhouse, and around it, barns, outhouses, stables all converted for us to live in. There were other buildings, usually the outlying ones, that were virtually falling down, which we couldn't use for much,..”. The words used by author like old, barns, stables converted for a living place and falling down carry the idea of a lonesome, left-out place. The writer thinks personally of the place as a place for separation, housing people with incurable diseases where they wait only to die which becomes more and more apparent after reading the whole novel.

Apart from that, there is a more sinister idea behind staying in the Cottages if viewed especially from Islamic perspective. In chapter 11, page 127, “A boy would come up and ask if you wanted to spend the night in his room “for a change,” something like that, it was no big deal. Sometimes it was because he was interested in becoming a couple with you; other times it was just for a one-nighter.” We think of the place, when coming to this part, as no less than prostitution house. It is clearly immoral and there is absolutely nothing illuminating in such a morally degraded place of living.

Adult life

1.            Being a carer and donor

Reflecting back the meanings, a carer in this novel cares for those who have started to donate their organs, which is the donor. He or she will later be given a notice to start donating. Kathy was a carer herself for more than 11 years (Chap. 1, pg. 3). It can be assumed like working, but dealing with a lot of donors in the same time, who are expected to die sooner or later could wear out anyone. “Carers aren't machines. You try and do your best for every donor, but in the end, it wears you down. You don't have unlimited patience and energy” (Chap. 1, pg. 4). Donations is another thing. Normal people in the novel will never grasp even the basic idea about it. As Ruth pointed it out in Chapter 19, page 225, “I'll tell you something I heard. I heard about Chrissie. I heard she completed during her second donation.” Adding up to this remark, Kathy said, “There's no big conspiracy about it,” I said, turning back to the boat. “Sometimes it happens. It was really sad about Chrissie. But that's not common. They're really careful these days.” (pg. 225). The word ‘careful’ sounds nice; but do we understand its real sense?

2.            Deferral

An analogy of deferral is, a new day coming accompanied by glorious sunshine- gone in a moment by a thunderstorm. Deferral is a chance for a couple to be together. If love sparks stars in the air, then deferral acts like a moon that shines. On page 153, chapter 13, “What they were saying was that some Hailsham students in the past, in special circumstances, had managed to get a deferral. That this was something you could do if you were a Hailsham student. You could ask for your donations to be put back by three, even four years. It wasn't easy, but just sometimes they'd let you do it. So long as you could convince them. So long as you qualified.” But the reality was like shouted out on their faces. Does deferral exist? Issues discussed later will cover the answer.

Related Issues that Rose- Where is real humanity?

Sayyid (n.d.) in defining humanity had come out with several important pillars that support each other. First one, he said that human beings are objective beings where their actions and behaviours are a reflection of their reasoning and will. Second, human beings are, to such a degree, affected by their surroundings consisting of the physical environment and other beings. Third, human beings are social beings who get into contact with other human beings. To start with, I would like to make an early statement that in this novel, the clones were given these rights; but the extent to which the rights can interfere in their lives are deprived; limited in the most real sense.

As the events provided above are six altogether, these events will be discussed under these three pillars that support the word humanity.

1.            Human Beings are Objective Beings Where Their Actions and Behaviours are a  
            Reflection of Their Reasoning and Will
            In response to this statement, (Mohamed, 1997) in his Friday speech had said,

“I had mentioned that the Islamic tarbiah (upbringing) is a process that depends first on forming a certain mentality for man. Shaping his thoughts, his views towards himself, this universe, and this life. Also his role in and his relationship with this world. He should understand in what way he can benefit from and what he can deal with in this universe and this life.”

Both the existence of Gallery and Miss Lucy’s statement are reflected in this quote. The existence of Gallery is none other than to form some kind of mentality in the clones. It had shaped their thoughts, their view, the universe and this life. Clearly, it is not at all the kind of upbringing that humans should live under the outlines of Islamic laws, but rather a way to shape them, to mould their character. In Chapter 22, page 260, Miss Emily, their principal at Hailsham, exposed the answer, “We took away your art because we thought it would reveal your souls. Or to put it more finely, we did it to prove you had souls at all.”

            A mean statement; and meaner because these are created human beings. It is a rude thing to ask to any normal human- yet they find it a subject to be discussed. The Gallery has shaped certain life view of the clones behind dehumanized intention the hood had hidden; an anomaly where normal humans like Miss Emily, Madame Marie-Claude, Miss Lucy and Miss Geraldine, think they are superior. This statement is directly related to their own state of creation- the purpose for them to die. Talking about it earlier, Kathy’s questions reveal her understanding, ““Why did we do all of that work in the first place? Why train us, encourage us, make us produce all of that? If we're just going to give donations anyway, then die, why all those lessons? Why all those books and discussions?” (Chap. 22, pg. 259). Why Hailsham at all? The seriousness that lies behind these questions is prudent. The Gallery and the school had shaped them, crafted them in the way normal humans want them to be. It gives them hope, it motivates them to love each other in their own way that it reflects their reasoning and will. To an extent, they have became objective beings- but their objectivity is controlled. Maximum achievement behind their reasoning and will is denied, unpermitted, snapped, and torn apart.

This explanation is intertwined with what was said by Miss Lucy. She questioned the way of the other guardians at the school who are happy ‘to leave it that way’- where students are unknown, and unclear of their purpose of creation. Because of it being unbearable to her, she just directly told them that they will donate their organs. Unspeakable rule being broken, she had to leave the school. Miss Lucy had adopted her very own way to deal with the situation- being objective as a free human because she just could not stand the talking of the students where they hope; when no one will permit them to achieve what they hope for. It is touching. Talking of humanity being deprived, Miss Lucy had somehow tried to do her job which is explaining- while knowing that whatever she said will never change the condition of the students in front of her. She served a small bit of humanity- to actually disclose the reality that humanity does not really exist for the clones.

In explaining this, Charles Eisenstein said in his book ‘Ascent of Humanity’,

“More than any other species, human beings are gifted with the power to  manipulate  their  environment  and  the  ability  to  accumulate  and transmit  knowledge  across  generations.  The first of these gifts we call technology; the other we call culture. They are central to our humanity.” (pg. 1)

            The action of the society is manipulating the environment- but does not foresee how culture will also react; the culture of ignorance placed at the heart of humanity.

2.            Human Beings are Affected by Their Surroundings Consisting of The Physical Environment and Other Beings

The examples of false freedom and being a carer and a donor provided above fall under this sub-heading. As the students of Hailsham had never been exposed to their surrounding, they found it weird to get contact with other humans- like the veterans at the Cottages. Described as ‘scary nonchalance’ (pg. 119), it bewildered them seeing those of their kind going around the country. Such situation affected them so. On page 119, chapter 10,

“In fact, looking back, I see they really went out of their way helping us settle in. Even so, those first weeks were strange and we were glad we had each other. We'd always move about together and seemed to spend large parts of the day awkwardly standing outside the farmhouse, not knowing what else to do.”

            ‘They’ refer to the veterans, or seniors to them. The freedom they gained after the strict ruling behind gates of Hailsham was making them awkward and somehow, lost. It is like, there is no strong point they could hold on to after their sweet moments having guardians who would care about them every now and then. The guardians had been there for them, guiding them uniquely but once they were out in the open and expected to behave like other humans, well, that is quite a lot for them to bear. At the first place, why the freedom at all? No mother in the normal society would let her children go there. But, they have to. Not literally forced, yes, but they know that it is the plan. Bits of humanity are scattered there.

            Coming on to adult life, being a carer and a donor fright them too. There are speculations and assumptions that some of them seem to be afraid of. Confiding in each other may increase the fear, but how do they find the strength to comfort the confiders that are also their friends, and also talking of the plan paved for them too? It is hard for us to think of an answer. Regarding being a carer, Kathy remarked her feelings, “Then there's the solitude. You grow up surrounded by crowds of people, that's all you've ever known, and suddenly you're a carer. You spend hour after hour, on your own, driving across the country, centre to centre, hospital to hospital, sleeping in overnights, no one to talk to about your worries, no one to have a laugh with.” (Chap. 18, pg. 207).

            When a donor died, a carer needs to motivate herself or himself. That is not easy. We do not come across anywhere in the novel talking about a centre where carers could gather among themselves and share their stories as a part of counselling session and to spirit them up.

“When a donor completes like that, out of the blue, it doesn't make much difference what the nurses say to you afterwards, and neither does that letter saying how they're sure you did all you could and to keep up the good work. For a while at least, you're demoralised. Some of us learn pretty quick how to deal with it. But others–like Laura, say–they never do.”        (Chap. 18, pg. 207)

            The carers are indeed, affected by their surroundings. They walk in a tunnel, seeing light at the end but after hours and hours, they will not reach there. At last, they came to know that the light is just to shine their way through- its source does not belong to them.

When it comes to donor, dark thoughts play around. There are some ideas about sci-fi horror movie.

“You'll have heard the same talk. How maybe, after the fourth donation, even if you've technically completed, you're still conscious in some sort of way; how then you find there are more donations, plenty of them, on the other side of that line; how there are no more recovery centres, no carers, no friends; how there's nothing to do except watch your remaining donations until they switch you off.” (Chap. 23. pg. 279)

            This statement shows that the donors are affected. Even, in the same event, when asked to doctors who treat them, the doctors cannot answer for sure. There is no ethic in such treatment. Miss Emily, being one of the normal society, she revealed the truth.

“There was no way to reverse the process. How can you ask a world that has come to regard cancer as curable, how can you ask such a world to put away that cure, to go back to the dark days? There was no going back.” (Chap. 22, pg. 263).

            This is the truth- the unspoken truth people hide behind. This environment and other objective beings have affected the clones. Educated and cultured, yes they are, but they will never be looked as having the same, strong hold to what is given to them; unlike the normal humans. They will never be the same.

            In response to these examples, Charles (2007) said,

“At the same time, it is quite easy to see technology and culture not as a gift but as a curse. After millennia of development, the power to manipulate the environment has become the power to destroy it, while the ability to transmit knowledge transmits as well a legacy of hatred, injustice, and violence. Today, as both the destruction and the violence reach a feverish crescendo, few can deny that the world is in a state of crisis.” (pg. 1)

3.            Human Beings are Social Beings Who Get into Contact with Other Human Beings

The existence of the possible and the feeble dream of deferral fall under this point. This sub-heading discusses mutual existence between humans and hopes to lead to the criteria that help maintain this mutuality. In truth, different people coming from different background have different views about the building and the development of this mutuality. They react to their own views in their own subjective and objective ways. Explanations given to them are only intended to aid them- further decisions are totally individual. Nevertheless, in some situations, people help to decide for us. It is expectable that we do not always have a straight mind and a nourished soul in the time when calamities strike. Thus, helps are offered to us from our mother and father, brother and sister, aunty and uncle. They help us to see the way through- they guide us willingly, with care, love and affection. With this much of attention, we would be able to see the light again. We begin to develop better hopes, better will and higher dreams. But, these clones are alone. No matter where they go, they are alone. They do not have specific person to refer to in their needs, in their worries and in their hopes. Their guardian is not their parent. They do not have a father, or a mother to turn to. They do not have siblings. Outsiders regard them like normal humans; yet their world views are distinctly different. Expectably, they would want to get into contact, no matter how faint, with people they find certain similarities with or share the same affection. It is just natural to develop such desire.

That is why, to certain of them, having a relation to outer world is important, significant in ways we could never truly understand. Even in understanding, such thought is so lonely. It explains why Ruth is so curious of her possible, her identical model, and why Tommy and Kathy have such need for a deferral. But, to a certain extent, the truth crushes upon them. In the following line, Kathy remarked,

“Then there were those questions about why we wanted to track down our models at all. One big idea behind finding your model was that when you did, you'd glimpse your future. Now I don't mean anyone really thought that if your model turned out to be, say, a guy working at a railway station, that's what you'd end up doing too. We all realised it wasn't that simple. Nevertheless, we all of us, to varying degrees, believed that when you saw the person you were copied from, you'd get some insight into who you were deep down, and maybe too, you'd see something of what your life held in store.” (Chap. 12, pg. 139-140)

            Because it was Ruth’s possible, she showed more curiosity than anyone who went with her to look for the person in the nearby town.

“Then Tommy said: “I don't see what difference it makes. It was just a bit of fun we were having.” “A bit of fun for you maybe, Tommy,” Ruth said coldly, still gazing straight ahead of her. “You wouldn't think so if it was your possible we'd been looking for.””                                 (Chap. 14, pg. 165)

Everyone in the gang at the moment, Chrissie and Rodney the veterans, Tommy and Kathy knew that it is her dream future having to work in an office. Thus, when the possible was spotted in such a place, she could not help being more curious, and more serious than others about this possible. This explanation can be supported with what Kathy said before, “Maybe once Hailsham was behind us, it was possible, just for that half year or so, before all the talk of becoming carers, before the driving lessons, all those other things, it was possible to forget for whole stretches of time who we really were; to forget what the guardians had told us; to forget Miss Lucy's outburst that rainy afternoon at the pavilion, as well as all those theories we'd developed amongst ourselves over the years. It couldn't last, of course, but like I say, just for those few months, we somehow managed to live in this cosy state of suspension in which we could ponder our lives without the usual boundaries. (Chap. 12, pg. 142-143).

            These explanations, these answers, seem to fit with each other. They back up each other in the way normal humans could not imagine at all. But, where does humanity fit into this? Or does it care to fit itself?

            Talking about deferral; who would not have wanted some three to four years with their loved one before being separated by death? Love binds people together; and when those people are facing the same situation, similar issues, love holds them together even more tightly than ever. It reflects how humans, even for these clones, are social beings that get into contact with each other based on understandable reasons. That is why, deferral is important to Tommy and Kathy. They want some time together. They want to really appreciate, and really celebrate these last moments before the immortal separation.

“So there's definitely nothing. No deferral, nothing like that.” “Tommy,” I murmured, and glared at him. But Miss Emily said gently: “No, Tommy. There's nothing like that. Your life must now run the course that's been set for it.” “So, what you're saying, Miss,” Tommy said, “is that everything we did, all the lessons, everything. It was all about what you just told us? There was nothing more to it than that?” (Chap. 22, pg. 266)
            Devastated they are, yes, but to defend in their course would seem even more devastating. What is the point, anyway? To defend deferrals for them when in truth, normal humans want to live a life out of their body parts. But, why, anyway? Why do they want to cling to each other that hard when these moments cannot at all achieve another stage, such as marriage? Or to have house owned together, or to capture pictures of wonderful moments that will not be seen by others? Even the noble word humanity cannot answer these questions.
            Charles (2007), said,

“We might manage each immediate problem and control every foreseeable risk, but an underlying disquiet remains. I am referring simply to the feeling, “Something is wrong around here.” Something so fundamentally wrong that centuries of our best and brightest efforts to create a better world have failed or even backfired.  As this realization sinks in, we respond with despair, cynicism, numbness, or detachment.” (pg. 2)
            Miss Emily had put it,

“How can you ask a world that has come to regard cancer as curable, how can you ask such a world to put away that cure, to go back to the dark days? There was no going back. However uncomfortable people were about your existence, their overwhelming concern was that their own children, their spouses, their parents, their friends, did not die from cancer, motor neurone disease, heart disease. So for a long time you were kept in the shadows, and people did their best not to think about you. And if they did, they tried to convince themselves you weren't really like us. That you were less than human, so it didn't matter.” (Chap. 22, pg. 263)


In reality, going to a high degree in discussing fundamental aspects of humanity is not an easy subject that people will find it interesting the moment they come across it- what else if it is added with the exploitation of the words clone, cloning and dystopia that talk directly of deprivation of life’s essentials contained in the word humanity. This topic is indeed a heavy topic which needs to be addressed with a real concern and genuine conscience. Without these considerations, people discussing it will find the noble terms and philosophies behind the idea of humanity, cloning and dystopia as beautiful afternoon clouds- they are beautiful, yes, and an unskilled person will find it difficult to draw it on his canvas of painting. Again, our question repeated; so, why bother? It is not much about the answers given to this question; but the focus is more towards why people ask it at the first place. It explains, maybe, why some people are full of concerns; but the concerns are objective and subjective to their own wants and needs. Some others are not interested at all; but the worst is, those who have become uninterested as time goes by. Do humans define humanity in their actions, then? Hopefully.


P.s: apabila menulis tulisn ilmiah, pastikan anda tidak melakukan copy and paste dari tulisan orang lain tanpa mengistiharkannya secara selayaknya. Harap maklum.

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