› Current Issue

  › Volume 5, December 2004
Volume 32, 2019
Volume 31, 2018
Volume 25, 2015
Volume 24, 2015
Volume 23, 2014
 ›Volume 22, 2014
Volume 21, 2013
Volume 20, 2013
 ›Volume 19, 2012
 ›Volume 18, 2012
 ›Volume 17, 2011
 ›Volume 16, 2011
 ›Volume 15, 2010

 Volume 14, 2010
Volume 13, 2009
 ›Volume 12, 2009
 ›Volume 11, 2008
Volume 10, 2008
 ›Volume 9, 2007
 ›Volume 8, 2007

 Volume 7, 2006
 Volume 6, 2005
 Volume 5, 2004
 Volume 4, 2001
 Volume 3, 2000
 Volume 2, 1999
 Volume 1, 1999



Precarity as Personhood in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go



Queensborough Community College, USA


Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go lures readers into a dystopic world that has the artifice of a country boarding school. When the characters to which readers have become attached are revealed to be clones raised for organ harvesting, the novel forces the readers to confront questions about what it means to be human, and at what cost humanity is willing to preserve itself. In this science fiction narrative about cloning, Ishiguro invokes multiple representations of the disabled body: the clones have been created, to ameliorate disability from the rest of society. Their organs are harvested to forestall the inevitable disabilities that the ailing or aging body will experience. The novel also replicates the social apparatuses that have traditionally been used to contain and eliminate disability. Reading Ishiguro’s narrative of cloning from a disability studies perspective reveals the novel’s use of defamiliarization as a literary technique to examine both the ideological constructions of disability and the physical structures that have contained disabled bodies during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Finally, approaching Never Let Me Go from this critical perspective reveals the novel’s answer to the central question it poses: What does it mean to be human?


Cloning, disability, eugenics, asylums, precarity, forced sterilization, trash aesthetic