Never Let Me Go

The Judy Bridgewater Tape Symbol Analysis

The Judy Bridgewater Tape Symbol Icon
During one of the “sales” at Hailsham, Kathy finds a cassette tape called Songs After Dark, performed by an artist named Judy Bridgewater. Kathy becomes enamored of the tape, in particular of a song called “Never Let Me Go,” which Kathy interprets to be about a young mother and her child. But Kathy “loses” the tape at Hailsham, only to find another copy with Tommy while in Norfolk, some years later. Earlier, back at Hailsham, Kathy dances to this song one day, cradling an imaginary child to her chest, when Madame walks by and sees her. Kathy notices that Madame is crying when she spots Kathy; Kathy later thinks this might have something to do with the fact that Hailsham students, being clones, are incapable of having children. But Kathy, in later discussion with Madame, learns why this scene caused Madame to cry: Madame believed that Kathy enjoyed the song’s depiction of a “kinder world,” as compared to the cruel world into which Kathy will soon be thrust. The Bridgewater tape therefore symbolizes many of the characters’ attitudes toward life before and after Hailsham. For Kathy, the Bridgewater tape embodies her innocence at Hailsham, and her desire for physical and emotional connection with other people—with lovers, with children. For Tommy, the tape also embodies this long lost emotional connection—Tommy wants desperately for Kathy to find the tape again in Norfolk. For Ruth, the tape symbolizes a secret connection between Tommy and Kathy—a connection with which Ruth can have no part. And for Madame, the tape recalls the cruelty of the world for clones whom she has tried to protect but whose lives are defined entirely by their cruel purpose as organ donors for "real" people.

The Judy Bridgewater Tape Quotes in Never Let Me Go

The Never Let Me Go quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Judy Bridgewater Tape. 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 6 Quotes

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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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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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:

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.

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.

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:

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 c

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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The Judy Bridgewater Tape Symbol Timeline in Never Let Me Go

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Judy Bridgewater Tape appears in Never Let Me Go. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
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
...tape is called Songs After Dark and was put out by a singer named Judy Bridgewater, released first in 1956, although Kathy had a “cassette version.” Kathy bought the tape at... (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
...describing the tape, and one song in particular that she loved on it, called “ Never Let Me Go .” Kathy imagines this song to be about “a woman who cannot have babies,” but... (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
...The tape was called Twenty Classic Dance Tunes, and although it sounded “nothing like” the Bridgewater tape, Kathy tells the reader that she still owns it, and that it’s “one of... (full context)
Chapter 15
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
...he couldn’t remember it’s title, and Kathy reminds him that the artist’s name is Judy Bridgewater. (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
...stunned silence, and thinks also, unrelatedly, of her own small dance to the song “ Never Let Me Go ,” which caused Madame to cry. But Kathy refocuses and listens to Tommy again, as... (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
...and Tommy in conversation. Kathy notably doesn’t tell the rest of the car about the Bridgewater tape Tommy bought for her, since Kathy doesn’t want to “spoil the moment” of happiness... (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
...discussing one of Kathy’s brief romantic flings, Ruth stumbles upon Kathy’s new copy of the Bridgewater tape, and when Kathy tells Ruth that she and Tommy found it together in Norfolk,... (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
...in which Kathy reminds Madame about their chance meeting while Kathy was listening to “ Never Let Me Go .” Madame recalls the incident. She marvels that Kathy remembers so vividly, and that Kathy... (full context)