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Never Let Me Go - Character
Test your English Literature skills in this quiz about Never Let Me Go.

Never Let Me Go - Character

This GCSE English Literature quiz will test you on characters in Never Let Me Go.

Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go, revolves around the lives of three characters, Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. Their stories are told through Kathy’s memories. By the end of the novel, she is the only one of the main characters left alive. Minor characters such as Miss Lucy, Miss Emily and Madame play important roles as their actions, words and decisions impact upon the lives and hopes of the three main characters. Kathy, Ruth and Tommy are former Hailsham students who grew up together and became life-long friends. This friendship becomes complicated through a love triangle and through Kathy’s decision to become a carer, first to Ruth and then to Tommy.

We understand a character through dialogue, through action and through narratorial descriptions. In this novel, it is important to remember that we see Ruth and Tommy through Kathy’s eyes. Although she aims to recover memories as accurately as possible, our images of Ruth and Tommy are coloured by her viewpoint and the passing of time. How does this affect the reader’s perception of character? How different would the text be if Ruth or Tommy had narrated it?

Answer the questions below to see how well you understand the characters in Never Let Me Go.

When Tommy is first introduced, which of the following is his most prominent characteristic?
A tendency towards anger
A tendency towards depression
Kathy recalls an episode when the other boys were attempting to provoke Tommy into one of his famous tantrums
Which of the following best describes Madame?
She cares for her career more than she cares for the clones
She cares deeply for the clones despite her involuntary revulsion when close to them
She is obsessed with art and with artists
She is intellectually interested in the clones, but feels no emotions for them
Madame struggles to overcome her revulsion because she does care about the clones
Which of the following is very important to Kathy?
Always being honest with people, even if it hurts their feelings
Forcing others to confront their emotions, even when they do not wish to do so
Keeping her emotions under control
Encouraging others to express their emotions freely
Kathy not only keeps her own emotions under control, but also works hard to help others to do so, which is one of the reasons she is a popular carer
Much of the novel is related through Kathy's memories. What does this tell us about her character?
She is cold and unforgiving
She is grieving
She is political and is creating a case to use against the government for its treatment of donors
She ignores the past in order to remain cheerful
Memories provide Kathy with a way to understand her life and her friends' lost lives and thus represent her most prized possessions as well as being sources of grief
Kathy explains that older students appreciated Miss Lucy's "brisk style". Which of Miss Lucy's characteristics does this phrase describe?
Her blunt honesty
Her energetic anger
Her refusal to indulge students' curiosity
All of the above
While Miss Lucy is described as quick and athletic, her 'brisk style' refers specifically to her honesty when approached by students, which Kathy contrasts with the comfort offered by Miss Geraldine
Before his chat with Miss Lucy about the importance of creativity, Tommy's frequent tantrums mar his usual _______ nature.
secretive, curious
open, good
Kathy sees beyond Tommy's tantrums and recognises the change when his good nature begins to display itself
Which of the following is NOT one of Ruth's tactics to keep Tommy and Kathy apart?
Attempting to make Kathy feel bad about herself
Encouraging Kathy to laugh at Tommy's drawings
Telling Tommy about the pornographic magazines
Humiliating Tommy in front of Kathy
Ruth compulsively manipulates the people who care about her
Which of the following does NOT accurately describe Ruth?
Capable of generosity
Unshakable confidence
Ruth attempts to appear mature and confident at all times, but this confidence is fragile and easily shaken
What is Ruth's motivation for keeping Tommy and Kathy apart?
A fear of being left out
A need to feel special
All of the above
Ruth's motivations are complex, and can be seen in the way she ostracises girls at school, including Kathy, and in the way she attempts to involve others in her imaginary world
After introducing herself at the beginning of the novel, Kathy worries that she might make other carers resentful and reassures readers that she does not make "big claims" for herself. Which of her characteristics does this introduction demonstrate?
Kathy is not the sort of person to want to make others envious. She is aware of her achievements as a carer, but is modest about them
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Characters

Author:  Sheri Smith

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