Never Let Me Go - Higher tier sample answers

Here are two sample answers that refer to point one of the essay plan.

Sample answer one

Kathy and Ruth spent most of their time at Hailsham together. Even when they quarrelled they soon became friends again. They behaved like typical friends, as you would find at almost any school in Britain today. The author of Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro has created a very realistic portrayal of teenage friendship. It is a friendship which has its ups and downs but ultimately Kathy and Ruth have always been there for each other. Whenever Kathy and Ruth argue and Ruth has been rude to Kathy, Ruth tries to make it up to her. In this extract Kathy and Ruth are arguing once again and Ruth is being typically bossy whilst Kathy is allowing her friend to be rude to her without really standing up for herself.

Feedback comments – some good knowledge shown but improvements need to be made

This answer shows solid knowledge of the history behind Kathy and Ruth’s friendship, particularly when they were both students at Hailsham School.

However, most of this answer focuses on giving general points about their friendship; not enough time is spent focusing on the actual extract.

There are also some inaccuracies included, for example, in the extract Kathy does try to stand up for herself and does not allow Ruth to say whatever she likes without defending herself.

Sample answer two

During this extract the reader sees that the friendship between Kathy and Ruth is not as strong as it used to be. The students were once very close but Ruth seems intent on proving to Kathy that she no longer needs her and is capable of finding other friends than Kathy and those students she met at Hailsham. During the extract, Ruth becomes increasingly rude to Kathy. She belittles her, which is implied when she calls her a ‘baby’ and is sarcastic, claiming that Kathy is angry because she isn’t being ‘played’ with as much anymore.

Feedback comments – this is a much improved answer

This answer immediately links to the title which is exactly what the examiner wants to see.

Use of technical language such as ‘sarcastic’ adds depth and helps fulfil the assessment objectives.

This answer focuses on the extract and the way in which it reveals aspects of Kathy and Ruth’s friendship.

Words such as ‘implied’ are effective and the answer should include further linking words when discussing quotes which are used to provide textual support.

You should now try to read over the assessment objectives again before attempting your own answer to this essay title.

You should try to complete it in timed conditions. Remember to keep in mind how important planning is and use everything you have learned in this section to write your own answer.

Foundation tier sample answers

Here are two sample answers that refer to point four of the essay plan.

Sample answer one

Kathy is feeling annoyed in this extract as Ruth is behaving in an unkind manner. When Ruth tells Kathy she is behaving like a baby, Kathy tells her to Stop all that, and this suggests that she is very angry and hurt. Ruth also tells Kathy that she is tired of only ever having friends from Hailsham and that she wants to make new friends in The Cottages. Ruth is annoyed and this suggests she is tired of only mixing with students from Hailsham. Ruth suggests that Kathy is also annoyed because no one at The Cottages seems to even know her name. This suggests Ruth has made new friends at The Cottages.

Feedback comments – some good points but improvements need to be made

This answer shows some understanding of the way Kathy feels.

However, halfway through the answer there is some confusion and comments begin to be made about Ruth’s feelings instead of Kathy’s. It is important to remember the question whilst writing the answer.

This answer would get higher marks if it included more language analysis. For example, how do we know Kathy feels angry in the sentences beginning, Stop all that?

This answer makes too much use of the phrase, this suggests that. Alternatives such as, this implies that, should also be used.

Sample answer two

Kathy’s annoyance is made obvious throughout the whole of this extract. However, the reader can also see that Kathy is upset by Ruth’s behaviour and is hurt that her friend should turn on her in this way. When Kathy tells Ruth to, Stop all that, we can see that Kathy is fed up of the way in which Ruth is behaving as she is being so rude and sarcastic to her. Kathy also feels that Ruth does not know anything about family life and reminds her of this when she says, You don’t know anything about it. Kathy has always felt that the students at Hailsham were the closest thing she had to a family and now Ruth’s responses are implying that she no longer feels the same way. This hurts Kathy.

Feedback comments – this is a much improved answer

This answer immediately links to the title which is exactly what the examiner wants to see.

This answer also focuses solely on Kathy’s feelings, unlike sample answer one.

In this answer the word implying is used and this suggests there is plenty of analysis taking place.