Never Let Me Go

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Miss Lucy Character Analysis

A guardian at Hailsham, Miss Lucy is known for her discomfort with the “abstract” teaching methods at the school. Lucy believes the other guardians tend to hide or smooth over the realities of a clone’s life—that clones must become carers and donors, and have no other choice. Miss Lucy tells the students some of these awkward truths, but later leaves Hailsham abruptly.

Miss Lucy Quotes in Never Let Me Go

The Never Let Me Go quotes below are all either spoken by Miss Lucy or refer to Miss Lucy. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of Never Let Me Go published in 2006.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Well . . . . The thing is, it might sound strange. It did to me at first. What she said was that if I didn’t want to be creative, if I really didn’t feel like it, that was perfectly all right. Nothing wrong with it, she said.

Related Characters: Tommy (speaker), Kathy H. , Miss Lucy
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point in the novel, Tommy has developed a willingness to discuss some of his more complex emotional states and problems with Kathy. Tommy's conversation with Miss Lucy—in which Lucy argues that Tommy doesn't have to be creative at Hailsham, despite an institutional emphasis on art classes—is one instance of an emotionally thorny and confusing episode.

What is especially odd about the conversation between Lucy and Tommy is the fact that, as revealed later, Tommy really is creative. He is a talented cartoonist, and his "animals," as he and Kathy call them, are intricately modeled and imaginative representations of his inner life. What Lucy appears to be telling Tommy, in a halting manner, is that Tommy, Kathy, and the other students have lives that are set out for them in advance. They do not have before them the kinds of choices that others must make as they mature. In some sense, this makes Hailsham a prep school that prepares its students for non-life—for organ donation and eventual death. It also means that Hailsham "classes" are, in a sense, just filler until the realities of the students' fates set in. 

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Chapter 6 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Miss Lucy (speaker), Kathy H. , Ruth, Tommy
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

Miss Lucy clearly wants to speak as forthrightly as possible to the students of Hailsham. She does not want to sugarcoat their futures. But Miss Lucy also most operate within the institutional structures of Hailsham—she cannot just yell out to the students, at least not at this point, what their violent fate must be. 

This passage is an example of Lucy splitting the difference, doing her best to be honest to the students without jeopardizing her own position within the Hailsham structure. Smoking is not permitted for any of the Hailsham students because their health is paramount—it is, in fact, their primary contribution to society. Their organs must be as "pristine" as possible, which is why, before they even reach early middle age, the students begin donating to others who might need them. Lucy thus does not disrupt the established order of Hailsham—she is still invested in making sure the students don't smoke. But she hopes to explain the policy in more detail as a way of relating more directly and honestly to the student population, whom she clearly cares about. 

Chapter 7 Quotes

The problem, as I see it, is that you’ve been told and not told. You’ve been told, but none of you really understand, and I dare say, some people are quite happy to leave it that way. But I’m not. If you’re going to have decent lives, then you’ve got to know and know properly. . . . Your lives are set out for you. You’ll become adults . . . and before you’re even middle-aged, you’ll start to donate your vital organs. That’s what each of you was created to do.

Related Characters: Miss Lucy (speaker), Kathy H. , Ruth, Tommy
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

This is another very important passage in the novel, and a scene in which Miss Lucy's relationship to the students changes somewhat. Before, Lucy has been content in maintaining Hailsham policy while also engaging with the students more directly and openly, telling them that they are special, that their lives will be determined by rules that don't necessarily apply for non-clones. Lucy has not, till this point, used the term "clone," but she nevertheless feels that the "special" status of Hailsham students must be addressed and explained to them.

What changes in this section is the directness with which Lucy addresses the students. She has overhead some of them discussing possible careers they might like to entertain in later life, and some of them, just before Lucy begins to speak, have said they would like to be actors. This, for Lucy, is simply too much, and she has to speak. She notes that any career other than organ donation, or caring for other donors, is utterly impossible for Hailsham students. Here the reader learns just how serious and unchangeable the fate of Hailshamites is—they have no choice regarding their future, and their lives are wholly predetermined. 

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Miss Lucy Character Timeline in Never Let Me Go

The timeline below shows where the character Miss Lucy appears in Never Let Me Go. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...that he has “grown up,” and also mentions that he’s had a conversation with Miss Lucy, another of the school’s guardians, who told him that “creativity” isn’t necessarily the most important... (full context)
Chapter 3
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...a certain amount of privacy. Kathy prods Tommy for information about his conversation with Miss Lucy, whom the students find to be a sympathetic guardian, though not so overtly nice as... (full context)
Chapter 4
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
...Kathy and some other students bring up the Tokens later, in a class with Miss Lucy, they find that Miss Lucy wants to discuss the matter with them. But Miss Lucy... (full context)
Chapter 6
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...off on another tangent, noting that the rule against smoking was a hard-and-fast one. Miss Lucy, one day explaining the rule to the students (Kathy was around 11 years old), tried... (full context)
Chapter 7
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
...as it was there. In particular, Kathy notes a conversation some students had with Miss Lucy in class one day, when Lucy seemed to acknowledge that, perhaps at other “schools” like... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy states that Miss Lucy always seemed “a little different from the other guardians,” and a conversation between Lucy and... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Lucy tells the students that none of them will be going to America, none will have... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...of an age that would enable them to understand this information. This meant that Miss Lucy’s outburst could only remind the students of information with which they had already become comfortable. (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...during the later period of his donation, why the students didn’t think more about Miss Lucy, who risked a great deal to tell the students more information about their futures than... (full context)
Chapter 8
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...that reader that, one day that year, she walked into a room and saw Miss Lucy furiously scribbling out what appeared to be a student’s handwriting, on numerous sheets of paper.... (full context)
Chapter 9
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...is, beyond his failed relationship, Tommy replies that he had another strange interaction with Miss Lucy, several days before. Tommy ran into her in the hallway, and the two began to... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...his old girlfriend. But in the following days, Kathy is startled to learn that Miss Lucy has left Hailsham and won’t be coming back. Kathy wonders why this could be, and... (full context)
Chapter 22
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
When Tommy brings up Miss Lucy, Emily dimly remembers her, and states that Lucy opposed the way that the school elided... (full context)