Ruth and Tommy become a couple

Chapters seven to nine

It is now Kathy’s last few years at Hailsham and she begins to realise that Miss Lucy is not like the other guardians. When Miss Lucy overhears two pupils from Kathy’s school year, Gordon and Peter J, talking about future careers as actors she cannot bear this and reminds them that they have been created solely for the purpose of donating their organs, “Your lives are set out for you. You’ll become adults, then before you’re old, before you’re even middle aged, you’ll start to donate your vital organs. That’s what each of you was created to do.”

Kathy admits that the pupils always knew about the donations and that therefore Miss Lucy’s words do not come as a surprise but she also admits that they only knew about them in a vague way. The guardians talk about the donations whilst giving pupils talks about sex so that the two get confused in the pupils’ heads. Kathy believes that as they are teenagers many of them pay more attention to the part of the discussion that involves sex. As she points out, “In other words, it’s possible the guardians managed to smuggle into our heads a lot of the basic facts about our futures.” She believes, just like Miss Lucy does, that they have been “told and not told.”

As the students turn 16 they become more interested in sex. Tommy and Ruth become a couple although Tommy still feels a special bond of friendship towards Kathy. When Ruth and Tommy split up, Ruth asks Kathy to speak to him and to persuade him to get back together with her. Kathy thinks Tommy is upset because of his relationship breakup with Ruth, but he admits to Kathy it is because of a conversation he has had with Miss Lucy. Miss Lucy confides in him that she was wrong when she previously told him it didn’t matter if he wasn’t any good at art and that art was important for his own sake because it could be used as evidence. Both Kathy and Tommy are confused about what Miss Lucy means by the term ‘evidence’ and by the almost maternal hug Miss Lucy gives Tommy when their conversation is over. The next day the pupils are told that Miss Lucy has left Hailsham and that she will not be returning. Ruth and Tommy get back together.

Life at The Cottages begins

Chapters Ten to 12

Part Two begins with Kathy, Tommy and Ruth moving to The Cottages, which represent their half way stage between leaving school and adulthood. The Cottages are looked after by an old man called Keffers. The students who already live there are referred to as veterans.

Conditions at The Cottages are uncomfortable but Kathy and her friends enjoy living there and engaging in lively academic debate with their new friends. Many of the veterans are in relationships with each other and Ruth begins to realise she and Tommy need to behave in a more mature manner with one another if they are to fit in with the others. Ruth begins to copy some of the mannerisms used by the veterans and this irritates Kathy, leading to arguments between the pair. However, they still confide in each other, particularly regarding issues concerning sex. Kathy realises that sex is treated in a far more mature manner in The Cottages than it was in Hailsham; there is less gossip about it and Kathy, like many of the other residents, has several one-night stands.

Ruth also notices that none of the veterans in The Cottages have collections of items kept in a chest so she decides to give hers away to charity, even though Keffers is unsure any charity shop will want what he refers to initially as stuff like that. Some students disappear for several days at a time and Kathy later realises that they are going on courses especially for future carers but everyone takes care not to mention these courses to each other.

There are also a lot of adult magazines in The Cottages which the students try to keep hidden from Keffers as he disapproves of them. One day Tommy finds Kathy flicking through the pages of the magazines although the reader does not find out until later why she is looking at them.

Two veterans from The Cottages, Chrissie and Rodney, tell Ruth that on a recent trip to Cromer in Norfolk they believe they spotted her possible, working in a glass fronted office. Working in such an office is something Ruth herself wishes she could do. Chrissie, Rodney, Ruth, Kathy and Tommy decide to visit Norfolk so that Ruth can have a chance of seeing her 'possible'. Kathy is not keen on the trip although she finds it difficult to explain why. Neither Chrissie nor Rodney went to Hailsham and Kathy is aware that both veterans see ex Hailsham students as having had a better start in life and possibly therefore a better future, even though ex Hailsham students are clones just like everyone else in The Cottages.