Date of Award

1-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

College/School

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Department/Program

English

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jonathan Greenberg

Committee Member

Jeffrey Gonzalez

Committee Member

Jeffrey Miller

Subject(s)

Kazuo Ishiguro -- Never let me go, Dignity in literature, Death in literature

Abstract

This thesis explores Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel Never Let Me Go, with a focus on the way the novel considers large questions concerning the “meaning” of human life and the nature of “human condition” as Ishiguro calls it in interviews discussing his novel, using language and terminology provided by phenomenologist and philosopher Martin Heidegger in his seminal work Being and Time. This thesis builds on these questions to consider the complex ways that the concept of “dignity” as shown through the experiences of clones who have socially predetermined lifespans complicates issues surrounding the inevitability of death, the uncanniness of clones and organ donation, and the reluctance to resist circumstances that cannot be changed. Ultimately, the novel provides a way of approaching a kind of bittersweet hopefulness in moving towards death, despite the crushing weight of its, and our, unalterable circumstances.

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