Never Let Me Go: Key Quotations by Theme


“A car was a rarity. And the sight of one in the distance was sometimes enough to cause bedlam during a class” p34

“Miss Emily…we probably recognised that it was her presence, intimidating thought it was, that made us feel so safe at Hailsham.” P39

“Normal people outside” p69

“One of the boys asked if the fences around the camps had been electrified, and then someone else had said how stranger it must have been, living in a place like that… I went on watching Miss Lucy through all this and I could see, just for a second, a ghostly expression come over here face as she watched the class in front of her.” p77

“Out there, people were even fighting and killing each other” p82

“People out there were different from us students” p82

“Soon we’ll be leaving Hailsham. It’s not a game anymore.” P104

“We arrived at the Cottages expecting a version of Hailsham for older students, and I suppose that was the way we continued to see them for some time. We certainly didn’t think much about our lives beyond the Cottages, or about who ran them, or how they fitted into the larger world. None of use thought like that in those days.” P114

“Featureless countryside… near empty road” p216

“Rows of identical houses” p242

“I don’t want to give the wrong idea about that period at the Kingsfield. A lot of it was really relaxed, almost idyllic.” p 237

“Ghostly dead trunks…’it’s really beautiful.’” p 220

Nature & Environment

“There were all kinds of horrible stories about the woods. Once, not so long before we all got to Hailsham, a boy had a big row with his friends and runn off beyond the Hailsham boundaries. His body had been found two days later, up in those woods, tied to a tree with the hands and feet chopped off. Another rumour had it that a girl’s ghost wandered through those trees. She’d been a Hailsham student until one day she’d climbed over the fence just to see what it was like outside. … when she tried to get back in, she wasn’t allowed….something had happened and she’d died. But her ghost was always wandering about the woods, gazing over Hailsham, pining to get back in.” p50

“The woods played on our imaginatives the most after dark, in our dorms as we were trying to fall asleep. You almost thought then you could hear the wind rustling the branches, and talking about it seemed to only make things worse.” p50

“The big grey sky” p204

Creation and Identity

“The gallery Tommy and I were discussing was something we’d all of us grown up with. Everyone talked about it as though it existed, though in truth none of us knew for sure that it did.”

“The exchanges became so important to us… the way we were encouraged to value each other’s work” p16

“It’s not good that I smoked. It wasn’t good for me so I stopped it. But what you must understand is that for you, all of you, it’s much, much worse to smoke than it ever was for me. You’ve been told about it. You’re students. You’re . . . special.” Ch. 6

“She was out in the corridor, standing very still…And the odd thing was she was crying. It might even have been one of her sobs that had come through the song to jerk me out of me dream.” Ch.6

“Even if you don’t quite know it, waiting for the moment when you realize that you really are different to them… who nevertherless shudder at the very thought of you – of how you were brought into this world and why – and how dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs.” p73

The Body

“Ruth had been right: Madame was afraid of us. But she was afraid of us in the same way that someone might be afraid of spiders. We hadn’t been ready for that. It had never occurred to us to wonder how we would feel, being seen like that, being spiders.” P35

“Our models were an irrelevance, a technical necessity for bringing us into the world, nothing more than that.” p140


“I was never the sort of kid who brooded over things for hours on end. I’ve got that way a bit these days, but that’s the work I do and the long hours of quiet when I’m driving across these empty fields” p57

“It’s just a bit of nostalgia to pass the time…daydream stuff” p114


“I found something tugging away at my memory” p37

“We were reminiscing in her room at the centre in Dover…Beyond that though, things became a fog.” P43

“Maybe I am exaggerating a bit” p56

“Certainly, it feels like I always knew about donations in some vague way, even as early as six or seven.” p81

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