Tommy D. in Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

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Tommy D. in Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro essay
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Never Let Me Go has captured the hearts of many. Kathy, the narrator and protagonist of the novel, Ruth, the controlling, popular girl that wants to fit in, and Tommy, the shy outcast that grows in multiple ways from having excessive tantrums to being laid back, all grow together throughout the story. This character development excels the story; Relationships growing, tension between characters, and even reaching adulthood. Throughout the story, Tommy shows the most growth as a person, or should we say clone, as the story progresses.

From the beginning, Tommy was always short tempered. From not getting picked in the games as a child to being mistreated by Ruth and the other couples in the Cottages, Tommy has handled his anger in separate ways. In the start of the novel, Tommy had tantrums. These tantrums caused him to be ridiculed by his fellow classmates at Hailsham.

“He’s completely convinced he’s going to be first pick. Just look at him!” (Page 8)

Tommy realized, through Miss Lucy, that despite what others think of him, he is amazing. Tommy is also ridiculed for not being creative, as seen by overseers such as Miss Emily and Miss Geraldine. This takes a toll on him as a child, bringing his self esteem fairly low. His confidence does not help in the matter at all. As we reach the end of the novel, Tommy stops have tantrums and angry outbursts. He becomes more solemn, being calmer about bad situations. When Kathy confronts Tommy about Ruth’s behavior towards him, Tommy stays cool and collected despite whatever feelings he may have.

“It’s not worth getting upset about…Ruth’s always doing things like that now…Our models, what they were like, that’s nothing to do with us Kath. It’s just not worth getting upset about.” (Page 168)

This shows Tommy’s growth as a person. Tommy, despite being short tempered as a child, has learned that some things are not worth getting angry over, such as Ruth’s criticisms towards Tommy and Kathy.

In the beginning of the novel, Tommy is seen as the loser of Hailsham. He had no creativity, his tantrums made him stand out, and he was always outcasted from other students. Not having friends, Tommy showed instant trust in Kathy when they first spoke. Kathy was hesitant at first, but as we go deeper into the novel, we see them bloom as not only a friendship, but a sexual relationship as well. Within the novel in around every chapter, Tommy calls Kathy “Kath”. He came up with the nickname after the tantrum in Chapter 1, specifically Pages 9-11. That’s when their friendship starts to develop.

When the group goes to leave Hailsham and move into the Cottages, Tommy and Ruth start to date. Despite them being a couple, Tommy tends to be left out and even made fun of by Ruth. Tommy seems to be Mentally abused by Ruth whilst being in a toxic relationship. From tapping Tommy on the shoulder when saying goodbye in Chapter 10 to Ruth calling him a “fool” and indirectly untalented in Chapter 16, Ruth has been abusing Tommy throughout their whole relationship despite not being forward with it. Although Ruth may be mean to Tommy, Kathy stands up for him and cares for him, which foreshadows the future deferral.

“A look then appeared in Tommy’s eyes that made me catch my breath. It was one I hadn’t seen in a long time that belonged to the Tommy who’d had to be barricaded in classrooms while he kicked over desks”. (Page 155)

This part of the novel is really important for the development of Tommy. This shows what a powerful effect Ruth’s comment had on Tommy and how it reminded him of his childhood. This also shows how Tommy has changed over the years and how well he can hold his temper now. Since his temper came back even for a second, this shows how angry and upset with the comment he was. This comment even brought back memories of Hailsham.

Soon after this, Ruth has a breakdown and screams at Tommy because of her accused “Possible” not being one. “I agree with Tommy. It’s just a bit of fun”. This shows that Kathy and Tommy have a strong connection as they both feel the same way about finding their models. They also show the same strong initiative to find their Models.

During this section, Tommy’s care for Kathy tends to grow as we lead into Kathy’s lost tape that Tommy tries so desperately to find. ~ “[he] tried to find it… [he tried] really hard”. Kathy then finds her lost tape; but Tommy becomes annoyed because he wanted to be the one to find it for her. This shows how he cares for her and wanted to make her happy. They then talk more about deferrals and how Chrissie and Rodney are “convinced [they] know all about [them] “. This is when we learn about Tommy’s theory about the gallery and how it relates to deferrals. His theory is if two people from Hailsham are in love, the deferral application committee would need to see proof that their love is real.

In the next section of the Novel, Tommy and Kathy have sex for the first time. This happens in Tommy’s room in Kingsfield where he had recently gone through his second donation. Because of this, they had to be very careful as there were still stitches. She describes her thoughts and emotions throughout the section. We know that they are both meant for each other although they both feel that they have left sex and their relationship too late. Despite Tommy having similar feelings towards Kathy as she does to him, we can assume that he may have been affected emotionally and physically by his recent donation.

Tommy barely showed his emotions, instead “just looking peaceful” and “not even making any noises”. This could show that he is peaceful and very calm around Kathy. However, it could also show that he also, like Kathy, feels like it is too late. We discover the other side of Kathy and Tommy’s relationship; rather than talking, and being good company with each other, we are shown the romantic side. Kathy and Tommy feel they have left their relationship too late; this is significant because the reader starts to worry whether they would have enough time together.

Tommy may have been an outcast at the start of his life, but he has evolved to be a strong clone, physically and emotionally. With Kathy by his side throughout the entire novel, Tommy becomes stronger without Ruth and her bullying towards him. Tommy has had a rough time developing, slight relapses to his infamous temper tantrums, but despite all that Tommy has come out with the strongest character development in the Novel. Ishiguro portrays Tommy is such a way that seems strange but cliché, the bullied kid with anger issues that turns into the love interest of the protagonist, but for this dystopian novel, it works well. Tommy is triumphant in his relationships and actions, not losing hope in Kathy or himself.

Works Cited

  1. Ishiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. Vintage International, 2006.

Tommy D. in Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro essay

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Tommy D. in Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. (2021, Jun 23). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/tommy-d-in-never-let-me-go-by-kazuo-ishiguro/


How is Tommy presented in Never Let Me Go?
Tommy is Kathy's close childhood friend, for whom she also harbors romantic feelings. At Hailsham, Tommy becomes an outcast among his peers because, unlike them, he lacks artistic ability. He develops a violent temper, often throwing tantrums in response to teasing from his peers .
Is Tommy in love with Kathy?
The triangle is a standard one: Kathy is attracted to Tommy; Tommy gets involved with Ruth, who is also Kathy's best friend; Ruth knows that Tommy is really in love with Kathy ; Kathy gets Tommy in the end, although they both realize that it is too late, and that they have missed their best years.
What are the characteristics of Tommy?
He is an arrogant boy who mocks Margie for the questions she ask him. He laughs on her face He is an important character of the book as after his finding of the book sets the stage for the story. He is a curious boy who reads the whole book as soon as he finds.
What does Miss Emily tell Kathy and Tommy?
Chapters 22 and 23 Miss Emily tells them that there is no truth to the rumour and that 'deferrals' do not exist .
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