Never Let Me Go

Kathy H. Character Analysis

The novel’s narrator and protagonist, Kathy H. was a student at Hailsham and a friend of Ruth’s and Tommy’s. While at Hailsham, Kathy slowly realizes the truth of her fate—that she is a clone created expressly to eventually donate her organs to other "real" people, and that her “job” is to work as a carer for other clones who have donated some of her organs and then as a donor of her own organs. Kathy also deals with the more typical problems of an adolescent, including friendship, sexual relationships, and questions of life’s purpose. Kathy has a particular attachment to a cassette tape called Songs After Dark, performed by an artist named Judy Bridgewater, and containing her favorite song, “Never Let Me Go.” At the close of the novel, Kathy serves as a carer for Ruth and then for Tommy, who becomes her lover. She then turns to her mandated work as an organ donor.

Kathy H. Quotes in Never Let Me Go

The Never Let Me Go quotes below are all either spoken by Kathy H. or refer to Kathy H.. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Never Let Me Go published in 2006.
Chapter 1 Quotes

So I reached forward and put a hand on his arm. Afterwards, the others thought he’d meant to do it, but I was pretty sure it was unintentional. His arms were still flailing about, and he wasn’t to know I was about to put out my hand. Anyway, as he threw up his arm, he knocked my hand aside and hit the side of my face.

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker), Tommy
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Tommy (speaker), Kathy H.
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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I froze in shock. Then within a second or two, I began to feel a new kind of alarm, because I could see there was something strange about the situation. The door was almost half open . . . but Madame hadn’t nearly come up to the threshold. 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.

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker), Madame
Related Symbols: The Judy Bridgewater Tape, The Judy Bridgewater Tape, Hailsham
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Chapter 8 Quotes

And you didn’t want to do it in the fields even when it was warm enough, because you’d almost certainly discover afterwards you’d had an audience watching from the house passing round binoculars. In other words, for all the talk of sex being beautiful, we had the distinct impression we’d be in trouble if the guardians caught us at it.

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker)
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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Chapter 12 Quotes

The point about Chrissie—and this applied to a lot of the veterans—was that for all her slightly patronizing manner towards us when we’d first arrived, she was awestruck about our being from Hailsham. It took me a long time to realize this.

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker), Chrissie
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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Chapter 15 Quotes

Well . . . I really wanted to find it [the cassette tape] for you. And when it looked in the end like it wasn’t going to turn up, I just said to myself, one day I’ll go to Norfolk, and I’ll find it there for her.
The lost corner of England! And here we are!

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker), Tommy (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Judy Bridgewater Tape
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 16 Quotes

God, Tommy, these must take so much concentration. I’m surprised you can see well enough in here to do all this tiny stuff. I wonder what Madame would say if she saw these.
I suppose I’ll have to get a lot better before she gets to see any of it.

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker), Tommy (speaker), Madame
Page Number: 187
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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Chapter 18 Quotes

It was that exchange, when we finally mentioned the closing of Hailsham, that suddenly brought us close again, and we hugged, quite spontaneously, not so much to comfort one another, but as a way of affirming Hailsham, the fact that it was still there in both of our memories.

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker), Laura
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 211
Explanation and Analysis:

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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:

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Chapter 21 Quotes

Poor creatures. What did we do to you? With all our schemes and plans?

Related Characters: Madame (speaker), Kathy H., Tommy
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 254
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 22 Quotes

I was thinking about back then, at Hailsham, when you used to go bonkers like that, and we couldn’t understand it. We couldn’t understand how you could ever get like that. . . . I was thinking maybe the reason you used to get like that was because at some level you always knew.
. . . That’s a funny idea. Maybe I did know, somewhere deep down. Something the rest of you didn’t.

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker), Tommy (speaker)
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 275
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 23 Quotes

. . . and if I waited long enough, a tiny figure would appear on the horizon across the field, and gradually get larger until I’d see it was Tommy, and he’d wave, maybe even call. . . . and though the tears rolled down my face, I wasn’t sobbing . . . I just waited a bit, then turned back to the car, to drive off to wherever it was I was supposed to be.

Related Characters: Kathy H. (speaker), Tommy
Related Symbols: Hailsham
Page Number: 288
Explanation and Analysis:

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Get the entire Never Let Me Go LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Kathy H. Character Timeline in Never Let Me Go

The timeline below shows where the character Kathy H. 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
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...is set in an alternate version of England, in the 1990s, and the narrator is Kathy H., a former student at the Hailsham school. Kathy now works as a “carer,” although... (full context)
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Kathy notes that she enjoys thinking about Hailsham, and she often tries to choose the people... (full context)
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Kathy often thinks about Hailsham when she drives around the English countryside, visiting her donors. In... (full context)
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...Tommy stands alone, raging wildly, getting himself muddy in the process, as the girls (excluding Kathy) laugh at him from the nearby pavilion. (full context)
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Tommy then walks by, on his way back to his room, and Kathy intercepts him, telling him that he’s gotten his favorite polo shirt dirty. Tommy, instead of... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Kathy tells the reader that, several days later, Tommy came up to her—in a line for... (full context)
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One night, in their large bunk-bed room, Kathy begins talking to the other girls about Tommy and her concerns for his wellbeing. Ruth... (full context)
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Kathy flashes forward again, this time to her period of caring for Tommy, who she reveals... (full context)
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Kathy then remembers how Tommy’s temper tantrums slowly began to disappear, even though his art, around... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Kathy remembers her meeting with Tommy later that day, near the school’s pond, which allows them... (full context)
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Kathy hears Tommy and grows more excited and interested in his comments, as they appear to... (full context)
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Kathy then fast forwards to the present, and tells the reader a little about the Gallery.... (full context)
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Kathy then flashes back to another striking scene in her time at Hailsham—a scene that, like... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Kathy briefly details an event at Hailsham, dating from around the time she was ten, which... (full context)
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Kathy was surprised to learn that Miss Emily was willing to give these students a small... (full context)
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Kathy also describes, briefly, the sales, which, unlike the exchanges, were held at Hailsham so that... (full context)
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Kathy also recalls becoming friends with Ruth. At first, when they were very young, around age... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Kathy states that, around age 7, for about “nine months,” Ruth encouraged the other girls to... (full context)
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Kathy uses another example to illustrate Ruth’s willingness to persist in fantasy. Ruth always pretended to... (full context)
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One day, after being kicked out, Kathy ran into Moira, another girl who had been asked to “leave” the secret guard. When... (full context)
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Kathy also recalls a moment where she tried to trap Ruth in one of her exaggerations.... (full context)
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Ruth, in fact, did respond with alarm—realizing that Kathy would have been able to know, from the log, that Ruth simply bought the case—but... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Kathy immediately feels guilty about hurting Ruth’s feelings and exposing her lie. In the weeks following... (full context)
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Kathy notes that Ruth had a chance to repay these kindnesses, when Ruth attempts to find... (full context)
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Kathy wonders, now, while telling this story whether they really believed in this “lost and found”... (full context)
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But Kathy notes that she has gone off on a tangent, and describes her lost tape. The... (full context)
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Kathy returns to describing the tape, and one song in particular that she loved on it,... (full context)
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One day, Kathy notes, she was doing exactly this—playing the song loudly, and dancing along, as though cradling... (full context)
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Years later, when they were adolescents, Kathy told Tommy, and only Tommy, this story, and said at the time that she knew,... (full context)
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A few weeks after the “Madame incident,” Kathy continues telling the reader, the tape “disappeared” from Kathy’s collection. Kathy wondered whether this disappearance... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Kathy remarks to the reader that, in some way, she consider her conversation with Tommy by... (full context)
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Kathy states that Miss Lucy always seemed “a little different from the other guardians,” and a... (full context)
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Kathy and Tommy discuss this even much later, when Kathy is Tommy’s carer, and Tommy offers... (full context)
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Kathy also recalls how Miss Emily began talking to the students about sex—which, for the students,... (full context)
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Kathy remembers a particular story, again involving Tommy, who cuts his elbow in a small accident... (full context)
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As the chapter ends, Kathy recalls that Tommy asked her, during the later period of his donation, why the students... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Kathy notes that, during the year in which she turned 16 (her final year at Hailsham),... (full context)
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Kathy mentions that other students begin having very obvious sex lives, and that Hailsham rules seemed... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Kathy recalls how she went about “courting” Henry: she told him once, when they were alone,... (full context)
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Several weeks later, however, Ruth expressed to Kathy, around the beginning of their last summer at Hailsham, that she had made a mistake... (full context)
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Kathy runs into Tommy, and the two begin talking about Ruth outside, near the playing fields.... (full context)
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Nevertheless, Kathy brings the subject back to Tommy and Ruth, and Tommy agrees to consider getting back... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Kathy begins Part 2 by reminiscing about her essay, which is the final assignment given to... (full context)
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Kathy also describe Keffers, the grumpy maintenance man who cares for the Cottages, stoking wood for... (full context)
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Kathy notices that Ruth has made certain adjustments to her behavior since arriving at the Cottages.... (full context)
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One day, Kathy is reading and Ruth approaches her, telling her the plot of Kathy’s novel (George Eliot’s... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Kathy notes that Ruth’s comment stung her particularly, because during their initial months at the Cottages,... (full context)
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Kathy has several “one-nighters” with boys at the Cottages. Although sex is more “grown-up” there, Kathy... (full context)
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Later on that autumn, Kathy discovers a cache of pornographic magazines at the Cottages—the joke there is that a former... (full context)
Chapter 12
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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 “possible” for... (full context)
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Kathy is “skeptical” about this possible idea, however, because Chrissie and Rodney noted that they saw... (full context)
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Nevertheless, Chrissie, Rodney, Ruth, Tommy, and Kathy decide to take a day-long fieldtrip to Norfolk in order to track down Ruth’s possible.... (full context)
Chapter 13
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
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...Chrissie is seated up front, with Ruth in the middle of the back bench seat. Kathy tells the reader that Ruth spends much of the drive talking to the couple in... (full context)
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...nods heatedly in assent, as though she knew all about this possibility from Hailsham, but Kathy and Tommy are confused, and Kathy realizes that Ruth is pretending to know about this... (full context)
Chapter 14
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Kathy tells the reader that the tension didn’t really dissipate as the day in Norfolk went... (full context)
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...the kind elderly gallerist. After a time, the group walks outside, and at this point, Kathy notices a distinct change has come over them, since on further inspection, they realize that... (full context)
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...she thought it was a stupid idea. Chrissie and Rodney try to “comfort” Ruth, and Kathy notices that the couple are “relieved” that Ruth’s possible wasn’t actually found—since, Kathy thinks, that... (full context)
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...a really funny guy, and that Ruth would like him; Ruth agrees to go, but Kathy says she’ll stay behind and meet up with the group when they drive home, since... (full context)
Chapter 15
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After the other three leave, Tommy tells Kathy that he never cared much about the “possible” idea, since he figures it doesn’t really... (full context)
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...it’s the “lost corner” of England. They come upon a second-hand shop and, sure enough, Kathy discovers the tape among a box of other used, old cassettes. She understands that this... (full context)
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Kathy listens to Tommy’s theory in a kind of stunned silence, and thinks also, unrelatedly, of... (full context)
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Kathy tells Tommy that his idea is interesting, but appears too flummoxed by the enormity of... (full context)
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But Tommy tells Kathy that this is a silly idea, and anyway, if it were true, it wouldn’t matter,... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Kathy notes that, after the Norfolk trip, the group experiences a certain kind of tension, and... (full context)
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Kathy also notices that her relationship with Ruth has once again grown strained. Ruth begins to... (full context)
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Soon thereafter, Kathy runs into Ruth and Tommy around the Cottages—the two of them are having a heated... (full context)
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Though this is not strictly true—Ruth has warped Kathy’s comments about the drawings from their previous conversation—Kathy knows that there is nothing she can... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Kathy realizes that, after this conversation with Ruth and Tommy, and its abrupt ending, it will... (full context)
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Kathy also has a conversation with Ruth, several weeks after the confrontation in the field with... (full context)
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At the end of this conversation, Kathy makes a comment about the rhubarb patches at Hailsham—a reference she assumes Ruth will understand—but... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Kathy recounts the start of her life as a carer. She says that the long hours,... (full context)
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Laura suggests that, since Kathy is allowed to choose her donors now, Kathy should volunteer to be Ruth’s carers. But... (full context)
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Because of this feeling about the balloons, Kathy decides that, though it might be difficult, she ought to try to be Ruth’s carer.... (full context)
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...and Ruth is in the mood for a break from the monotony of the hospital. Kathy, hesitant and first, finally agrees to take Ruth in her (Kathy’s) car to see the... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Ruth and Kathy drive several days later to Kingsfield, to pick up Tommy at his treatment center—a run-down... (full context)
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...in the car-ride to the boat, about a particular woman at her treatment center, but Kathy and Tommy finally complain to her—saying they don’t understand the point of her story—and Ruth... (full context)
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Ruth, Tommy, and Kathy begin talking about people they knew. Chrissie has completed, or died, during her second donation,... (full context)
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...back into the car, and though their conversation at the boat was a difficult one, Kathy feels they are now able “to talk more freely.” They spot an ad that resembles... (full context)
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...wouldn’t have been possible—she wouldn’t have even known how to petition—and, suddenly, Ruth also begs Kathy to forgive her. Kathy is surprised by the change in Ruth’s tone, and she wonders... (full context)
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Kathy begins to “sob” as Ruth goes on, saying that Tommy and Kathy ought to be... (full context)
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Kathy stops crying and realizes that she must drop off Tommy in Kingsfield and then Ruth... (full context)
Chapter 20
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One year after the trip to see the boat, Kathy does become Tommy’s carer. Tommy has now had three donations, and his condition is stable,... (full context)
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They generally avoid the subject of speaking to Madame, and one day, Tommy asks Kathy to look again at some of the new animals he’s been drawing. Kathy sees them... (full context)
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But Kathy insists to the reader that, despite all the emotional complexities of this time, Kathy enjoyed... (full context)
Chapter 21
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Tommy and Kathy have a hard time getting to the seaside town where Madame lives—Tommy has to run... (full context)
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Tommy and Kathy sit in a dark room and look at the decorations while Madame goes upstairs to... (full context)
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Kathy, excited, begins her speech, but finds that her ideas are “garbled,” even though she has... (full context)
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...saying, to no one in particular, if she should “proceed” in her explanations, and finally, Kathy realizes that Madame is addressing a fourth person, enshrouded in the darkness, whom Madame wheels... (full context)
Chapter 22
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Miss Emily begins speaking to Kathy and Tommy, telling them that Madame, or “Marie-Claude” as she calls her, is now somewhat... (full context)
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But Emily notes that all this came to an end once the Morningdale Scandal struck. Kathy asks what this scandal was, and Emily responds that, in Scotland, a rogue scientist named... (full context)
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...since her assistant is arranging for the sale of a piece of furniture. Tommy and Kathy say that this is all difficult and disappointing news to hear, and that for them... (full context)
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...Lucy’s method would have been no better for the clones in the long run. When Kathy complains that Madame always found the clones “repulsive,” Emily defends her, saying Madame “gave her... (full context)
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Emily says, however, that she “really must go” outside, and so Kathy and Tommy walk out and watch Emily's assistant help Emily into her car. Madame and... (full context)
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Kathy explains her fantasy regarding the child in her arms, and Madame counters that, although she... (full context)
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On the drive back, Kathy notes that the two of them spoke little. But soon, after it gets dark and... (full context)
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But this time, Kathy’s response to Tommy and his tantrum is different. Kathy tells Tommy that, “back at Hailsham,”... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Kathy notes that things between herself and Tommy become strained after the meeting with Emily and... (full context)
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One day, when Kathy is visiting and tending to Tommy, the two go outside for a walk, and Tommy... (full context)
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Tommy notes that “he and Kathy have loved each other all their lives,” but that, at this point, they are like... (full context)
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Tommy and Kathy have their last several meetings, and at their last one, they talk briefly about Ruth,... (full context)
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Kathy tells herself that her emotions about Ruth are more complicated. She, too, is partly glad... (full context)
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Kathy says a final goodbye to Tommy, but since they have been saying “goodbye” to each... (full context)
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Kathy also tells the reader that she allowed herself an “indulgence” after hearing of Tommy’s death.... (full context)