As long as love has been around, which I’m guessing is a pretty long time, the ability to write love stories has followed eagerly behind. Still so prominent in many aspects of storytelling today are the age-old tales of young lovers, star-crossed lovers, and mismatched boys and girls who defy all expectations to allow themselves to be consumed in love. Equally, alongside these epic tales of love linger the stories where love is portrayed as non-existent or not as important as tradition claims. This Valentine’s Day, being the teenage idealists and misanthropists we sometimes can be, we at The Indiependent looked to see how love is or isn’t portrayed in some wonderful works of literature.
Never Let Me Go // Kazuo Ishiguro
Ah love. It’s a complicated emotion and holds a place in almost every story ever told. Whether it plays a minor or major role love has almost become essential to any narrative in order to add that touch of humanity. Especially when you’re stuck in the middle of a dystopic world where clones are harvested for organs and your one and only calling in life is to care for your fellow clones whilst they go through the four stages of their ‘donations’ (forceful abduction of organs). Oh and the love of your life just so happens to be one of your patients.
Tch bummer, right? Whatever happened to the good old ‘our parents disapprove’ or ‘we’re too young’? No, Kazuo Ishiguro decided to paint almost too vividly a real and alternate reality where the human race has mass-produced clones in order to harvest their organs for those who were lucky enough to, well, be human. Depending on how you look at it love can either take a backseat role or it could be the forefront at the force driving this narrative.
To me, love is the most prominent theme in Never Let Me Go. It crops up in almost every single character’s story, whether minor or main, to reveal a truly raw and often tragic nature of events. Ishiguro uses love to manipulate these poor beings into walking straight into what can only be described as a harrowing situation.
Kathy and her childhood, and adulthood love, for that matter, Tommy were schooled together and grew up with their friend Ruth, who spent her life determined to keep Tommy from Kathy. I know, the love triangle strikes again. Anyway, with the love her life just out of reach for most of her life and the timer slowly reaching zero on Tommy’s life, which counts down right in front of her, Kathy has to hope for a rather large miracle to save them both. She is in quite the pickle.
Words by Joshua Jones