Use of language (continued)

Kathy’s chatty narrative style


Kathy’s narration is honest and light which makes her story an absorbing one to read. It also means the reader finds it easy to become involved in Kathy’s life, Anyway, I’m not making any big claims for myself, and to care about what happens to her.


It might be difficult for some readers to care about the life of a student clone but because Kathy is friendly in the way she narrates her story, the reader feels an immediate connection with her.


This allows Kazuo Ishiguro to focus on the immorality of human cloning, as he knows that his readers will care about the heroine of the novel.

The language of acceptance


At no point does anything in Kathy’s narration indicate that she plans to rebel or that she plans any future for herself other than the one that has already been decided upon, That sounds long enough, I know, but actually they want me to go on for another eight months until the end of this year. Kathy’s use of the word they suggests that she is letting someone else make all the decisions for her.


Ishiguro seems to be suggesting that the student clones now belong to their own social class and that as members they have all agreed to accept their futures.


The response of the clones is interesting, suggesting that where there is a powerful they, there will always be a less powerful group willing to accept their fate as they feel they have no alternative.

How to analyse language

In the extract that follows, Kazuo Ishiguro uses language to portray the petty squabbles that sometimes happen between friends who spend lots of time together.

Ruth, I’ve been meaning to ask you. Why do you always hit Tommy on the arm like that when you’re saying goodbye? You know what I mean?

Of course she claimed not to, so I patiently explained what I was talking about. Ruth heard me then shrugged.

I didn’t realise I was doing it, I must have just picked it up.

A few months ago I might have let it go at that – or probably wouldn’t have brought it up in the first place. But that afternoon I just pressed on... It’s not something worth copying, I told her.

It’s not something people really do out there...


How does the language used in this extract show us that Kathy is feeling frustrated with Ruth?

Kathy admits that usually she would have let it go or not mentioned Ruth’s actions in the first place.

Kathy says Ruth claims not to know what she is talking about, suggesting Kathy does not believe her.

Kathy says she patiently explained what she meant which implies this explanation requires a little effort on her part and that she actually is beginning to feel less than patient.

When Kathy tells Ruth her actions are not worth copying from anyone else she is reminding Ruth of the need to be an individual and to stop trying so hard to be like one of the veterans.

Move on to Test