Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Kathy remembers her meeting with Tommy later that day, near the school’s pond, which allows them 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 Miss Geraldine. Tommy says that Miss Lucy called him into her office one day and told him that, although art is important, Tommy can’t help it if he’s not creative—and he shouldn’t worry about it. Miss Lucy also seemed, as Tommy relates to Kathy, to be angry while talking to Tommy—not at Tommy, but at the system of Hailsham itself. Miss Lucy also mentions to Tommy that Hailsham ought to be “teaching the students more” about their futures.
The other guardians, including Miss Geraldine, have less trouble interacting with students and upholding the principles of the school, but Miss Lucy reveals—through her frustrations and cryptic comments about Hailsham—that the students have very limited, tightly circumscribed futures awaiting them. Miss Lucy believes, furthermore, that Hailsham ought to be honest with the students about just how bleak and difficult their adult lives will be. Suddenly the comforts of Hailsham take on a bit of a sinister edge, as if they are being used not just to protect the students but to blind them.
Themes
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 hears Tommy and grows more excited and interested in his comments, as they appear to prompt her to consider some other “puzzling” things she’s seen around the school recently. Notably, Kathy asks Tommy why “Madame” (a very businesslike woman, whom they believe to be the superintendent of Hailsham, though she only visits every so often) always takes away certain samples of their art every so often. Tommy replies that this art goes to “the Gallery,” but Kathy finds this explanation, which is often given at the school, to be insufficient.
The Gallery’s existence is never proved till the end of the novel—and is, at that point, revealed to be something rather different from what the Hailsham students initially imagine. But Madame does in fact come to Hailsham periodically to pick up pieces of art—and her very “intrusion” into the world of the school on a regular basis causes the students to believe she has a very important position in the Hailsham hierarchy.
Themes
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy then fast forwards to the present, and tells the reader a little about the Gallery. Every so often, the Madame would come to Hailsham, and the students assumed that, when she did so, she would take with her certain prime examples of their art, made in art class—poems, paintings, sculptures. The art did in fact disappear, but the students never learned where the art went, or what it was for. The students only knew that to be selected for this Gallery was a great honor—although they never really spoke openly about it.
In order to make students feel better about having their art taken away, Miss Emily emphasizes just how wonderful it is to be chosen for the Gallery. This is important, since art is a unit of exchange at Hailsham, and having a piece of art taken for the Gallery means a student will have fewer pieces to trade at the Exchange. The giving away of something that does not in any way benefit the students—to donate something—is thus emphasized.
Themes
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 then flashes back to another striking scene in her time at Hailsham—a scene that, like her conversation with Tommy about creativity, seemed to point to something interesting about 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 girls wonder if this can be true, and they decide to make a plan to find out. The girls wait for evidence of Madame’s car, and when they see it one day, they hurriedly gather together and decide to walk by Madame in one of the school’s courtyards.
The notion that Madame might be afraid of the students is hard for the students to believe—yet they also seem to sense, even at this relatively young age, that they are different from people “outside” Hailsham, and different even from the guardians who are charged to take care of them. The girls approach Madame, in part, as a way of testing this theory, while also pretending that their hijinks are just that—a game, and not at all serious.
Themes
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
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The girls see Madame, 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 would touch her. The girls then walk past Madame and are quite “shaken” by the experience. Laura, one of the girls known for her humor, asks painfully why Madame “wants their art,” if she finds the students at Hailsham repulsive. And Kathy thinks to herself that she and the other girls began to see, in that incident, that their lives outside Hailsham would be separate from those of other people—that they had been marked off for a different kind of life.
One of the defining moments in Kathy and Ruth’s lives. Madame’s almost physical fear of being near the students produces a palpable feeling of inferiority among the girls. Only much later, when Kathy and Tommy meet with Miss Emily and Madame, will they learn that Madame’s repulsion is shared by many of the guardians, including Miss Emily. And, furthermore, this repulsion is in fact the reason why the “reformers” who built Hailsham wanted to treat the students kindly—in order to prove that the clones, too, are human beings. They built Hailsham as a way to combat their own revulsion of the clones.
Themes
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon