The Macksey Journal


Critiquing any piece of art brings with it a plethora of epistemic anxieties - from the limitation of the individual experience to one's imbued cultural biases, so much so that any shared knowledge seems impossible, and the influence of the political inseparable. This paper explores Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go, which situates and magnifies these anxieties in its dystopian portrayal of a near-future England - where cloned children are taught art in a rigorous and unidimensional means to make them accept their status in society as organ donors for the "real" citizens. It looks at how the children are brainwashed to accept a particular worldview through art, but how the imposition of a single meaning in art makes it entirely devoid of any cathartic or intellectual quality, and yet how propaganda can be used by, or through marginalized groups to create mainstream change as well. It also discusses the possible redemption of an existential artistic representation through the character of Tommy, who turns to art near the end of his life for the catharsis he had never been told was possible, and whose art can only be understood by himself - a positive affirmation of individual knowledge and experience in art creation. Thus, the work aims not only to provide a thematic analysis of the novel but also consider how its representation of art carries implications in art criticism and philosophy.