Write a paper regarding conflict in NEVER LET ME GO. Remember, we have external and internal conflict, and several types of external conflict.


Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel “Never Let Me Go” delves into a dystopian world where the characters face both external and internal conflicts, painting a bleak picture of a society where the boundaries between humanity and inhumanity are blurred. This paper explores the various conflicts within the novel, focusing on external and internal conflicts that shape the lives of its characters.

External Conflict: Society’s Treatment of Clones

One of the most prominent external conflicts in “Never Let Me Go” is the society’s treatment of clones. Clones, like Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy, are created for the sole purpose of organ donation. They are segregated from the rest of society and denied the same rights and privileges as non-clones. As evidence of this conflict, Ruth remarks, “We’re not like the others. We don’t get to grow old and have families and careers. We exist solely for organ donations” (Ishiguro 45). This quote underscores the stark external conflict that exists between the clones and the society that views them as mere commodities.

Further textual evidence of this conflict can be found in how the clones are systematically dehumanized. They are stripped of their autonomy and agency, with society dictating their fate from the moment they are created. In a poignant scene, Miss Lucy, a guardian, tells the students, “You have to know who you are, and what you are. It’s the only way to lead decent lives” (Ishiguro 91). This quote exemplifies the external conflict by highlighting the rigid societal norms that force clones to accept their preordained roles and deny them the opportunity to live as individuals.

External Conflict: The Search for Deferrals

Another significant external conflict in the novel is the characters’ quest for deferrals. In this dystopian society, clones are fated to donate their organs until they “complete,” which is essentially a euphemism for death. However, there are rumors of a possibility for deferral, a chance to postpone their organ donations and gain a few more years of life. Tommy, Ruth, and Kathy embark on a desperate search for this elusive possibility. Tommy’s outburst illustrates this conflict when he exclaims, “I want to live a little bit longer. I don’t want to be cut open again. I want to be free” (Ishiguro 134). This quote encapsulates the external conflict of the characters’ fight for a chance at deferral.

Further textual evidence highlights the lengths to which the characters are willing to go in their pursuit of deferrals. They seek out Madame and Miss Lucy, individuals with knowledge of the deferral process, and confront them to plead for their help. This conflict intensifies as they navigate a world that seemingly has no room for mercy or compassion.

Internal Conflict: Kathy’s Conflicted Feelings

In addition to external conflicts, “Never Let Me Go” explores the internal conflict within its characters. Kathy, the novel’s protagonist, grapples with her feelings for both Ruth and Tommy. She is torn between her loyalty to her friends and her own desires. Kathy’s inner turmoil is evident when she reflects, “I wanted Ruth to stay my friend, but I wanted Tommy as well. It was so confusing” (Ishiguro 72). This quote exemplifies the internal conflict that arises from her conflicting emotions.

Further textual evidence reveals the complexity of Kathy’s internal conflict as she navigates her relationships with Ruth and Tommy. Her feelings evolve and change throughout the novel, highlighting the emotional turmoil she experiences.


In “Never Let Me Go,” Kazuo Ishiguro masterfully weaves a narrative filled with conflict, both external and internal. The external conflicts stemming from society’s treatment of clones and the quest for deferrals shape the characters’ lives and drive the plot forward. Meanwhile, the internal conflict within Kathy adds depth and complexity to the novel. These conflicts underscore the novel’s themes of identity, morality, and the human condition, leaving readers with much to contemplate about the world Ishiguro has created.