Never Let Me Go

Miss Emily Character Analysis

The head of school at Hailsham, Miss Emily is mostly feared by the students—she is rather strict but helpful, and is known for making long speeches imploring to students to remain healthy. Miss Emily later speaks with Tommy and Kathy and reveals several truths about Hailsham: that it was an “experiment” in reform, conducted by those who felt clones deserved “humane” treatment; that Madame, long thought to be Miss Emily’s boss at Hailsham, was in fact co-founder of the school and a reformer herself; and that Hailsham closed because of lack of funds. Miss Emily seems both stern and caring in this final sequence—understanding of the difficulties of clone life, but resigned to the fact that society does not care to treat clones with even the meager dignity provided by Hailsham anymore.
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Miss Emily Character Timeline in Never Let Me Go

The timeline below shows where the character Miss Emily appears in Never Let Me Go. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
...another student, a group of angry students, including a boy named Rory, went to Miss Emily, the headmistress of the school, and demanded tokens in exchange for this work given to... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Kathy was surprised to learn that Miss Emily was willing to give these students a small number of tokens in compensation for their... (full context)
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Individual Goals vs. Social Expectations Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...guardians would have to “shut down” sales that descended into fighting. On these occasions, Miss Emily would give long speeches to the students of Hailsham, telling them that they are special,... (full context)
Chapter 6
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
...students thought of Norfolk, a region in the southeast of England. During geography lessons, Miss Emily once described Norfolk to the assembled students as “something of a lost corner of England.”... (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
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy also recalls how Miss Emily began talking to the students about sex—which, for the students, meant no possibility of babies... (full context)
Chapter 21
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Losing and Finding Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
...enshrouded in the darkness, whom Madame wheels out to speak to Kathy and Tommy—it’s Miss Emily, the former head of Hailsham. Madame defers to Miss Emily, and says “it’s she Kathy... (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
Miss Emily begins speaking to Kathy and Tommy, telling them that Madame, or “Marie-Claude” as she calls... (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
Emily then addresses the rumor of deferral and of the gallery. Although the deferral rumor is... (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 Emily notes that all this came to an end once the Morningdale Scandal struck. Kathy asks... (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
Miss Emily says, however, that she now must go, since her assistant is arranging for the sale... (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
When Tommy brings up Miss Lucy, Emily dimly remembers her, and states that Lucy opposed the way that the school elided over... (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
Emily says, however, that she “really must go” outside, and so Kathy and Tommy walk out... (full context)
Chapter 23
Maturation and “Growing Up” Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Humanity Theme Icon
Loving, Caring, and Donation Theme Icon
Kathy notes that things between herself and Tommy become strained after the meeting with Emily and Madame, perhaps because they know there is no more deferral—that the animals no longer... (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
...have known everything Tommy and Kathy found out, about Hailsham and their own lives, from Emily and Madame. But Tommy notes that Ruth “wanted to believe in things,” and that, therefore,... (full context)