Other character relationships

Tommy and Kathy

The novel Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro presents the relationship between Tommy and Kathy. 

At Hailsham, Kathy is the only one who defends Tommy and disagrees with how the others bully him. She is also the one who manages to get Tommy to calm down when he has a temper tantrum (Chapter 1, 99%). This somehow creates a bond between her and Tommy, at least from Tommy’s perspective. From then on, Tommy is always eager to see Kathy, even if this exasperates Kathy, who thinks it is childish for a thirteen-year-old to act like this (Chapter 2, 1%).

Tommy trusts Kathy and tells her secrets that he would not reveal to other people. He does not hesitate to explain his talks with Miss Lucy to Kathy. He also tells Kathy about his imaginary animals, even before he tells Ruth. When Ruth tells Tommy that Kathy finds his art ridiculous, Tommy looks at Kathy in anger, but then his expression is “replaced by an expression almost of wonder, like I was a rare butterfly he’d come across a fence-post” (Chapter 16, 100%). This could be because he feels numb after Kathy’s perceived betrayal. Another interpretation might be that he is starting to wonder whether he knows Kathy at all.

When Kathy loses her favorite tape at Hailsham, Tommy desperately tries to find it. This suggests that it is possible Tommy was actually in love with Kathy even that early on, but might not have had the nerve to approach her. When it is Kathy who eventually finds the tape after Tommy suggests they look for it in Norfolk, Tommy ...

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