Literary genre

Dystopian novel

Never Let Me Go by Kazuro Ishiguro can be considered a dystopian novel. Although the novel has also been marketed as science-fiction, it is important to point out that, unlike most works of the science-fiction genre, which take place in an imagined future, Never Let Me Go takes place in an alternate version of England at the end of the 20th century.

Dystopian fiction presents an imagined society which contains elements that are disturbing and frightening. Many times, dystopian societies are ruled by a totalitarian regime or tend to dehumanize certain communities. The latter is also the case with Never Let Me Go, where clones are created to donate their vital organs once they reach adulthood. 

Another characteristic of a dystopian society is the discouragement of any form of dissent. Although Miss Emily and Madame show with the art projects made by the Hailsham students that the clones can experience emotions and create things, it does not seem as if they are trying to put a stop to the cloning process, only to make sure that clones get to grow up in humane conditions. Similarly, Kathy and the other clones do not try to change their fate. They only go so far as to think about deferrals, meaning to have their donations postponed and not stopped altogether. At one point, Ruth even says: “ ‘it’s what we’re supposed to be doing’ ” (Chapter 19, 50%). This shows that, in a dystopian society, people are often made to accept violations of their rights and see them as normal.

Dystopian fiction often raises awareness about important social and political issues and points to various moral dilemmas. Never Let Me Go presents a society that finally has a cure for fatal diseases. However, this has been achieved through exploitation, which makes the breakthroughs appear questionable and problematic from an ethical standpoint. 

Other notable examples of dystopian fiction include 1984 by George Orwell, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Coming of age novel

Never Let M...

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