Never Let Me Go and Frankenstein

We have discussed Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go as a gothic novel. Ishiguro has imagined a world where disease is being conquered by the harvesting of healthy organs from human clones bred expressly for this purpose. For many readers reviving the idea of scientists violating the natural order in a more modern setting makes it a very interesting read. Like Mary Shelley before him, Ishiguro imagines a frightening world in which man plays God. In Frankenstein (1818), Victor dreams of a world in which ‘(he) could banish disease from the human frame and render man invulnerable to any but violent death’. Ishiguro creates just this world in his fiction, only the ‘creatures’ are not just similar to the rest of the human race in nature, but also in appearance, and even upbringing. Many of us would believe that a world without pestilence or disease is one that we would like to live in, but Ishiguro’s world is somewhat disturbing. Like Frankenstein’s creature the clones disturbed accepted notions of what it is to be human. Is a clone human? Does a clone have a soul? What Shelley and Ishiguro’s novels have in common is portraying the horror that inevitably occurs following a reverse of the natural order.

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