After Dolly: Clones in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

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Thana Boonlert

Abstract

Biomedicine generates what Susan Merrill Squier (2004) defines as liminal lives, which range from stem cells to transplantable organs. They have potential for the prolongation of human life, but carry several complications. This article examines issues of clones in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go (2005) from biomedical and cultural theories. In his novel, Kathy and friends are cloned for organ donation, which requires them to sacrifice body parts to people in need of replacement. I argue that Ishiguro uses clones to question the idea of the human in the biomedical age. In my analysis, clones challenge the human-nonhuman boundary. Besides, clones draw attention to discourses and institu- tions which situate humans above other life forms. Finally, even though clones reflect the shift in the status of body parts from carriers of identity to bioproducts, Ishiguro suggests that they can make way for the re-evaluation of the value of life in the age of biomedicine.

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