Structure

The novel Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro uses mainly a chronological plot structure as the main character, Kathy H., recalls key events from her past. The structure is also circular as the novel begins and ends with 31-year-old Kathy H. driving around the country during her job as a carer.

The novel is divided into three main parts, each representing a stage of the main character’s life. The book has 23 chapters in total. Part 1 starts with Chapter 1 and ends with Chapter 9. It is meant to correspond with Kathy’s childhood at Hailsham. Part 2, which is the stage after Kathy’s childhood, but before she fully grows up, starts with Chapter 10 and ends with Chapter 17. Part 3 (Chapters 18-23) brings the narrative back to the present and to recent events that have affected Kathy.

Part 1 is told mainly in a non-chronological order as Kathy seems to jump from one event to another. This could be because she does not remember events from childhood as clearly as she remembers more recent events. Parts 2 and 3 are mostly told in chronological order, although there are still frequent references to events that happen at a later point.

The beginning introduces the main character and offers several important hints:

My name is Kathy H. I’m thirty-one years old, and I’ve been a carer now for over eleven years. That sounds long enough, I know, but actually they want me to go on for eight more months, until the end of the year (…) My donors have always tended to do much better than expected. Their recovery times have been impressive, and hardly any of...

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