no. 1

The Clones' Ethical Dilemma in Never Let Me Go
Author:Yanjiao Zhao    Time:2022-03-21    Click:

Title: The Clones’ Ethical Dilemma in Never Let Me Go

Abstract: The clones in Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go have to face the destiny of “untimely death,” thus leading to our reflection on the clones’ ethical dilemma from the perspective of existentialism. This paper analyzes the clones’ ethical dilemma from their crisis in identity, biological power and existential choice, on the basis of Judith Butler’s and Giorgio Agamben’s philosophical theories. Just like Odradek, the clones are defined as neither “human” nor “animal” but in the mid-state as of existence, becoming “non-human” in Butler’s words. Besides, the clones’ living “state of exception” makes them Agamben’s “Homo Sacer”: facing designed life, the clones all choose to be “a livable life”, and that pathetic and mournful choice further highlights their existential predicamentimplying Ishiguro’s humanistic concerns for the marginalized, and meanwhile, calling into question the modern trend of biotechnology when scientific development confronts human ethics.

Keywords: Never Let Me Go, clone, non-human, ethics

Author: Yanjiao Zhao, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Foreign Languages, Peking University, Beijing, China.

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