Never Let Me Go

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Ruth Character Analysis

One of Kathy’s best friends, Ruth is a complex and often difficult person. Her pride is her greatest weakness, and she often pretends to know about things of which she has no actual knowledge. Ruth dates Tommy at Hailsham and later, at the Cottages, only to regret, while serving as a donor, that she “kept Kathy and Tommy apart.” Ruth then gives Tommy the information to find Madame, former head of Hailsham, so that Kathy and Tommy can request a “deferral” from donation and to live together as a couple.

Ruth Quotes in Never Let Me Go

The Never Let Me Go quotes below are all either spoken by Ruth or refer to Ruth. 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 4 Quotes

I accepted the invisible rein she was holding out, and then we were off, riding up and down the fence, sometimes cantering, sometimes at a gallop. I’d been correct in my decision to tell Ruth I didn’t have any horses of my own, because after a while with Bramble, she let me try her various other horses one by one, shouting all sorts of instructions about how to handle each animal’s foibles.

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker), Ruth
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 47
Explanation and Analysis:

Kathy's relationship with Ruth is one of the central relationships in the novel. Kathy finds in Ruth someone she can talk to—but Ruth for a long time acts superior to Kathy, as though she knows things about Hailsham Kathy doesn't know. Ruth, to Kathy, appears to be someone whose future is not necessarily marked out in advance. For Kathy this is intoxicating. Ruth's imagination, like Tommy's, is different from that of the run-of-the-mill Hailsham student.

Ruth's horse-riding, as an imaginary activity, is indicative of her view of life. Ruth pretends that she can "grow up" the way other people (non-clones) do. Like them, Ruth believes she might have a future where she achieves wealth or fame, or has a family. Ruth's relationship with Tommy, once it develops, has in it a kind of seriousness that, to Kathy, appears more mature and separate from other sexual dalliances that are common at Hailsham. Thus, in "extending the reins" to Kathy in this scene, Ruth both opens the possibility of friendship and pairs with it a slight feeling of superiority—as though she is deigning to speak to Kathy despite Kathy's relative immaturity. 

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Never Let Me Go quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 5 Quotes

When it came down to it, though, I don’t recall our taking many practical steps towards defending Miss Geraldine; our activities always revolved around gathering more and more evidence concerning the plot itself.

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker), Ruth, Miss Geraldine
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

Ruth's earlier fantasy of riding imaginary horses on the Hailsham grounds is a prelude to some of her more involved fantasies. The "plot" against Miss Geraldine is Ruth's idea. The other girls follow it, including Kathy, although, as Kathy here notes, they do so not because they think the plot is actually true. Instead, they want to appease Ruth, who is more or less the leader of their group. They want to show her they are "cool" and capable of thinking "outside the box" of normal Hailsham students.

The idea that Miss Geraldine might be kidnapped points to a larger threat of violence, which creeps in as the novel goes on. For the clones at Hailsham will, in fact, be subjected to terrible, painful procedures as they age—their organs will be harvested until they expire. Their fate is the stuff of science fiction horror. That is the primary dramatic irony of the book—that the students fantasize about a world of mythical and violent behavior, yet they themselves will be subject to institutional violence as they mature. 

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. 

Chapter 9 Quotes

Don’t you realize, we won’t be here together like this much longer?
I do realize that, Kath. That’s exactly why I can’t rush back into it with Ruth. We’ve got to think about the next move really carefully . . . . Like you say, Kath. We’re going to be leaving here soon. It’s not like a game any more. We’ve got to think carefully.

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker), Tommy (speaker), Ruth
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 110
Explanation and Analysis:

One of the threads running throughout the novel is the love triangle between Tommy, Ruth, and Kathy. Ruth, who in many ways presents herself as someone who "knows the ropes" and is mature and world-wise, snags Tommy early on. They date for some time, and though their relationship seems largely happy, they break up toward the end of their time at Hailsham.

But Ruth quickly realizes that she wants Tommy back, and she enlists Kathy to help her do this. Kathy talks to Tommy, and when Tommy says he is weighing his options in getting back with Ruth, Kathy also seems to demonstrate real concern for Tommy, although she never tells him outright that she has romantic feelings for him. 

Kathy's inability to assert herself quite so strongly as Ruth is therefore a refrain in the novel. Ruth, in Kathy's eyes, gets "what she wants." Kathy is more passive, she tends to listen, to offer advice when asked—but she has a harder time maintaining a romance, or even identifying to herself what she wants. The reader often has the feeling that he or she knows more than Kathy about Kathy's own emotional state. 

Chapter 10 Quotes

For the first weeks after we arrived, she [Ruth] made a big deal of it, always putting her arm around Tommy . . . it wasn’t long before Ruth realized the way she’d been carrying on with Tommy was all wrong for the Cottages, and she set about changing how they did things in front of people.

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker), Ruth, Tommy
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

What Kathy notes here, without offering her own opinion on the matter, is Ruth's ability to adapt her behavior quickly to her surroundings. Ruth is concerned, perhaps excessively so, with what other people think of her—she is always trying to seem "in the know," prepared for whatever the world will throw at her. Ruth enjoys showing Kathy that she, Ruth, acts like a grownup, while Kathy tends to follow behind, passively waiting for others to show her the way.

Thus Ruth felt at Hailsham that one demonstrated one's relationship status by openly embracing a partner in front of others—showing her possession of Tommy. When Ruth realizes that this is "uncool," that "the veterans" at the Cottages do not demonstrate their love in this way, she demurs, and instead touches Tommy in front of others in a more subtle or sly manner.

Kathy, for her part, announces these changes to the reader, sensing what they might tell him or her about Ruth. But Kathy refrains from saying too much on top of this—she does not blame Ruth openly for being so quick to court the favor of those around her. Only much later will Kathy speak with Ruth more honestly about the ways Ruth makes Kathy feel. 

Come to think of it, I suppose you haven’t been that slow making friends with at least some of the veterans.

Related Characters: Ruth (speaker), Kathy H.
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:

This is one of Ruth's crueler statements—indeed, the depths of Ruth's cruelty toward Kathy are found when the two of them are at the Cottages together. Ruth is here implying that Kathy has slept with a good deal of the men in the Cottages—and even that Kathy has a "problem" with her sexuality, that she cannot control her urges. 

Ruth, by contrast, makes it seem like she easily and effortlessly maintains total fidelity to Tommy. Ruth implies that Kathy's behavior with some of the men in the Cottages has marked her as a promiscuous person. And in saying it in this way, sideways rather than directly, Ruth also implies that many people at the Cottages know about this—that Ruth is somehow doing Kathy a "favor" by telling her what others are supposedly whispering about Kathy's sexual exploits.


Chapter 11 Quotes

You were different. I remember. You were never embarrassed about your collection and you kept it. I wish now I’d done that too.

Related Characters: Ruth (speaker), Kathy H.
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 131
Explanation and Analysis:

This is a moment that occurs before Ruth's comment about Kathy's sex life at the Cottages, but that Kathy relates to the reader only after the other conversation. Ruth, because of her desire to seem mature, gets rid of her "collection" of gifts and other objects from Hailsham. She does not want to be tethered to memories of that place, the way that Kathy and perhaps Tommy do. Ruth looks only forward, into a future where she wonders whether she can't escape the life prescribed to her as a donor.

This passage also sheds light on Kathy's relationship to her own past and future. Kathy loves Hailsham—she thinks of it fondly, and when Hailsham closes later in the novel, Kathy mourns its loss even though she knows she can never go back there. Hailsham represents a time of companionship and learning—even though her "preparation" was to be a clone donor, and not for any other worldly future. But Kathy also has a sense of her own future that is in line with the one prepared for her at Hailsham. Kathy wants to be a caretaker—she looks forward to helping other people. 

Chapter 13 Quotes

You know, Ruth, we might be coming here in a few years’ time to visit you. Working in a nice office. I don’t see how anyone could stop us visiting you then.

Related Characters: Chrissie (speaker), Ruth
Page Number: 151
Explanation and Analysis:

This passage relates to the concept of a "possible," or the person upon whom a clone donor was modeled and therefore "produced." The trip to Norfolk is both a vacation and a journey to see if Ruth's possible might, in fact, be there. Chrissie, Rodney, Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth travel all that way in order to try and glimpse a world they have always hoped to be possible—a world in which they, as donors, are related to others who lead normal lives in the world.

What is less clear, in this passage, is just what Chrissie and Ruth actually believe about the possible. If, say, they were to stumble upon a person who resembles Ruth—would they talk to her? Would Ruth be able to live the life that the possible was also living? Although the donors perhaps sense that these ideas are fantastical and impossible, they are nevertheless invested in seeking out answers—as much for their own entertainment and desperate hope as anything else. 

Chapter 14 Quotes

We all know it. We’re modeled from trash. Junkies, prostitutes, winos, tramps. Convicts, maybe, just so long as they aren’t psychos. That’s what we come from. We all know it, so why don’t we say it?

Related Characters: Ruth (speaker), Kathy H. , Tommy , Chrissie
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

Up till this point, Ruth has spoken to others as though she were not constrained by the cultural expectations of donors. For example, Ruth has made it seem that she might be able to work in an office, like her "possible." She has also asked some of the other couples at the Cottages whether it is in fact possible for donor couples who are in love to ask for a deferral of their donation duties, so that they might have more time together. All these utterances combined make it seem that Ruth really believes she has a life outside the predetermined course for all donors.

Here, however, Ruth blurts out what she really thinks. Ruth is aware not only that her clone life is unchangeable, but she knows, too, that she and the others are probably cloned from "undesirable" personages in society—that clones are at the absolute bottom of the social ladder, that they are used only to make sure that other, "normal" people can live. Ruth is devastated by this information, which is why she goes to such great lengths to make it seem that she is not concerned with it at all. 

Chapter 17 Quotes

Well, Kathy, what you have to realize is that Tommy doesn’t see you like that. He really, really likes you, he thinks you’re really great. But I know he doesn’t see you like, you know, a proper girlfriend. Besides, you know how Tommy is. He can be fussy . . . . Tommy doesn’t like girls who’ve been with . . . well, you know, with this person and that.

Related Characters: Ruth (speaker), Kathy H. , Tommy
Page Number: 200-201
Explanation and Analysis:

This is another instance of Ruth's cruelty toward and manipulation of Kathy. Ruth makes this point about Tommy's lack of affection for Kathy because Ruth senses that Kathy and Tommy do in fact have a real intimacy. The two get along very well, they speak confidentially to one another, and Tommy has shown Kathy the nature of his artistic work—something that Ruth perhaps feels is too intimate to be shown to anyone other than herself.

Ruth thus combines several threads she has used before against Kathy. She argues that Kathy has been too promiscuous previously, and that this is something Tommy "wouldn't like." She makes it seem, too, that Tommy has always considered Kathy to be nothing more than a friend—a person in whom he can confide, but not an object of romantic interest. And Ruth makes it seem that only she is a "proper girlfriend" for Tommy—that she is the only person who can treat Tommy the way a boyfriend ought to be treated. 

Chapter 19 Quotes

I’d like you to forgive me, but I don’t expect you to. Anyway, that’s not the half of it, not even a small bit of it, actually. The main thing is, I kept you and Tommy apart. That was the worst thing I did. . . . What I want is for you to put it right. Put right what I messed up for you.

Related Characters: Ruth (speaker), Kathy H. , Tommy
Page Number: 232
Explanation and Analysis:

This outburst of Ruth's, which is designed as an apology to Kathy and to Tommy, is very similar to Ruth's outburst of several years before, when Ruth argues that they all know they are cloned from "undesirable" personages in society. In this case, Ruth again wishes to clear her conscience of something that has been weighing on her for some time, and that she has been trying to keep repressed or secret.

The primary difference, however, has to do with Ruth's relationship to other people. In her first outburst, Ruth argued against the existence of her own "possible" because she was so exasperated by her own lack of opportunity in the world. Her outburst was thus not so much directed toward others but toward her own despair. In this latter instance, however, Ruth realizes that her behaviors of the past have influenced the possibility of a relationship between Kathy and Tommy. Ruth wishes, in this case, to atone for something she has done wrong—to make it right while Kathy and Tommy are still alive and able to spend time together. 

Get the entire Never Let Me Go LitChart as a printable PDF.
Never let me go.pdf.medium

Ruth Character Timeline in Never Let Me Go

The timeline below shows where the character Ruth appears in Never Let Me Go. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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
...so that her donors have gone to Hailsham school. Kathy served as a carer for Ruth, whom she mentions had been a friend of hers at Hailsham, though the two have... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...but the other girls “gasp” at Tommy’s impulsiveness. Kathy walks back to the girls, where Ruth consoles her, saying that Kathy has managed to calm Tommy down somewhat. (full context)
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
...Kathy begins talking to the other girls about Tommy and her concerns for his wellbeing. Ruth agrees that the other boys are cruel to Tommy, but says that Tommy himself can... (full context)
Chapter 3
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
...their lives. The girls were all lying awake in their dorm, talking as usual, and Ruth mentioned that she thinks Madame is afraid of the Hailsham students. Kathy and the other... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
...and gathering in a line, they walk toward her, saying hello. The girls—especially Kathy and Ruth—notice that, as they approach Madame, Madame becomes extremely nervous, as though she were worried they... (full context)
Chapter 4
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy also recalls becoming friends with Ruth. At first, when they were very young, around age “5 or 6,” the two had... (full context)
Chapter 5
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, around age 7, for about “nine months,” Ruth encouraged the other girls to believe that there was a kidnapping plot against Miss Geraldine,... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy uses another example to illustrate Ruth’s willingness to persist in fantasy. Ruth always pretended to the other girls that she was... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy also recalls a moment where she tried to trap Ruth in one of her exaggerations. Ruth came to class one day with a new pencil... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Ruth, in fact, did respond with alarm—realizing that Kathy would have been able to know, from... (full context)
Chapter 6
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy immediately feels guilty about hurting Ruth’s feelings and exposing her lie. In the weeks following this incident, then, she does everything... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Kathy notes that Ruth had a chance to repay these kindnesses, when Ruth attempts to find Kathy’s “lost tape.”... (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
...Kathy came to believe, after several weeks, that the tape was gone forever. One day, Ruth came up to her, saying she had also looked high and low for the tape... (full context)
Chapter 8
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
...having very obvious sex lives, and that Hailsham rules seemed rather ambiguous as regarded sex. Ruth and Tommy had become an “item,” although their relationship was somewhat tumultuous, and Tommy appeared... (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
...realizes, now, that she delayed having sex with Henry because she had feelings for Tommy—whom Ruth had recently broken up with, after six months together. (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Several weeks later, however, Ruth expressed to Kathy, around the beginning of their last summer at Hailsham, that she had... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy runs into Tommy, and the two begin talking about Ruth outside, near the playing fields. But Tommy appears distracted, and when Kathy asks what the... (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
Nevertheless, Kathy brings the subject back to Tommy and Ruth, and Tommy agrees to consider getting back together with his old girlfriend. But in the... (full context)
Chapter 10
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
...designed to occupy the students minds during their two-year stay at the Cottages, where Kathy, Ruth, Tommy, and several others from Hailsham are sent. The Cottages, like several other communities around... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy notices that Ruth has made certain adjustments to her behavior since arriving at the Cottages. For one, although... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
One day, Kathy is reading and Ruth approaches her, telling her the plot of Kathy’s novel (George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda). Kathy becomes... (full context)
Chapter 11
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy notes that Ruth’s comment stung her particularly, because during their initial months at the Cottages, Ruth and Kathy... (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
...“one-nighters” with boys at the Cottages. Although sex is more “grown-up” there, Kathy realizes, when Ruth makes her scathing remark during the Daniel Deronda conversation, that sex remains a taboo topic—or... (full context)
Chapter 12
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
Later on, during the first winter of their time at the Cottages, Ruth pulls Kathy aside and tells her, excitedly, that Chrissie and Rodney might have spotted a... (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
...a glass-fronted office in the Norfolk town—and this office conforms closely to the “dream future” Ruth had been talking about at the Cottages for several weeks. Kathy fills in the story... (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
Nevertheless, Chrissie, Rodney, Ruth, Tommy, and Kathy decide to take a day-long fieldtrip to Norfolk in order to track... (full context)
Chapter 13
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
...car and set off for Norfolk. Rodney drives, and Chrissie is seated up front, with Ruth in the middle of the back bench seat. Kathy tells the reader that Ruth spends... (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
...“deferral” of caring duties for Hailsham couples who can “prove that they’re properly in love.” Ruth nods heatedly in assent, as though she knew all about this possibility from Hailsham, but... (full context)
Chapter 14
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...cheap birthday cards (they claim they’re always useful to have around), and there, Kathy overhears Ruth telling the couple that, at Hailsham, people knew about the “deferral” rumor but didn’t say... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...group walks around Norfolk, with Rodney leading the way, trying to find the office where Ruth’s possible works. Finally, Rodney finds the place, and the office somewhat resembles the magazine ad... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
The group loiters down the street for a time, then Tommy spots Ruth’s possible walking away down the High Street, and the group decides to follow her for... (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
...Tommy tries to lighten the mood, saying it was only “a bit of fun,” but Ruth is enraged at the whole thing—though she says that now, all along, she thought it... (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
Rodney and Chrissie nevertheless try to cheer Ruth up by inviting her and the rest of the group to go visit Martin, a... (full context)
Chapter 15
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
As they are walking outside the shop, and waiting for the others, Tommy tells Ruth that he has another theory about Hailsham, one he’s been thinking about since they left.... (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
...comes back, overjoyed from their laughing good time with Martin, and on the ride back, Ruth makes a special effort to include Kathy and Tommy in conversation. Kathy notably doesn’t tell... (full context)
Chapter 16
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...trip, the group experiences a certain kind of tension, and people don’t really speak about Ruth’s possible, or about the possibility of “deferral” much—perhaps because Norfolk itself was a strange and... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy also notices that her relationship with Ruth has once again grown strained. Ruth begins to pretend that she can’t remember things about... (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
Soon thereafter, Kathy runs into Ruth and Tommy around the Cottages—the two of them are having a heated discussion, and Kathy... (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
Though this is not strictly true—Ruth has warped Kathy’s comments about the drawings from their previous conversation—Kathy knows that there is... (full context)
Chapter 17
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy realizes that, after this conversation with Ruth and Tommy, and its abrupt ending, it will be difficult to patch things over 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
Kathy also has a conversation with Ruth, several weeks after the confrontation in the field with Tommy. Kathy learns that Ruth has... (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
...this conversation, Kathy makes a comment about the rhubarb patches at Hailsham—a reference she assumes Ruth will understand—but when Ruth “only vaguely” remembers what Kathy is talking about, Kathy responds “sharply,”... (full context)
Chapter 18
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
...Laura talks for a long time about the difficulties of her job, before she mentions Ruth, whom neither Kathy nor Laura has seen for some time. Ruth is already a donor,... (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
...that, since Kathy is allowed to choose her donors now, Kathy should volunteer to be Ruth’s carers. But Kathy says that might not be a good idea. Laura also mentions the... (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
...balloons, Kathy decides that, though it might be difficult, she ought to try to be Ruth’s carer. She volunteers for the position and begins meeting with Ruth at a treatment center... (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
Then, “out of the blue,” Ruth mentions one session that there is an abandoned boat that has run aground several hours... (full context)
Chapter 19
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Ruth and Kathy drive several days later to Kingsfield, to pick up Tommy at his treatment... (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
Ruth talks on and on, in the car-ride to the boat, about a particular woman at... (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
Ruth, Tommy, and Kathy begin talking about people they knew. Chrissie has completed, or died, during... (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
...are now able “to talk more freely.” They spot an ad that resembles the ad Ruth once saw on the ground—of the office on which she based her dream future. Tommy... (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
But Ruth counters that this wouldn’t have been possible—she wouldn’t have even known how to petition—and, suddenly,... (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 begins to “sob” as Ruth goes on, saying that Tommy and Kathy ought to be together, and that the two... (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 stops crying and realizes that she must drop off Tommy in Kingsfield and then Ruth in Dover. The three drive back quietly, and when Tommy leaves the car in Kingsfield,... (full context)
Chapter 23
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...carer for this part of his donating life. Kathy becomes very upset, and says that Ruth wanted her to be Tommy’s carer till the end, but Tommy counters that Kathy should... (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
...Kathy have their last several meetings, and at their last one, they talk briefly about Ruth, wondering if Ruth would have liked to have known everything Tommy and Kathy found out,... (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
Kathy tells herself that her emotions about Ruth are more complicated. She, too, is partly glad Ruth was spared this knowledge. She also... (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
...after his fourth donation. She remarks to herself that, though she has “lost Tommy and Ruth and Hailsham,” she still has memories of these places, and she can keep these memories... (full context)