GCSE English Literature Quiz - Never Let Me Go - Character (Questions)

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.

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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.

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1. 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?
[ ] Modesty
[ ] Hypocrisy
[ ] Over-confidence
[ ] Curiosity
2. Which of the following does NOT accurately describe Ruth?
[ ] Capable of generosity
[ ] Vindictive
[ ] Unshakable confidence
[ ] Needy
3. Before his chat with Miss Lucy about the importance of creativity, Tommy's frequent tantrums mar his usual _______ nature.
[ ] secretive, curious
[ ] mistrustful
[ ] disagreeable
[ ] open, good
4. 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
5. 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
6. 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
7. What is Ruth's motivation for keeping Tommy and Kathy apart?
[ ] Jealousy
[ ] A fear of being left out
[ ] A need to feel special
[ ] All of the above
8. 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
9. When Tommy is first introduced, which of the following is his most prominent characteristic?
[ ] A tendency towards anger
[ ] Curiosity
[ ] A tendency towards depression
[ ] Unfriendliness
10. 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
GCSE English Literature Quiz - Never Let Me Go - Character (Answers)
1. 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?
[x] Modesty
[ ] Hypocrisy
[ ] Over-confidence
[ ] Curiosity
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
2. Which of the following does NOT accurately describe Ruth?
[ ] Capable of generosity
[ ] Vindictive
[x] Unshakable confidence
[ ] Needy
Ruth attempts to appear mature and confident at all times, but this confidence is fragile and easily shaken
3. Before his chat with Miss Lucy about the importance of creativity, Tommy's frequent tantrums mar his usual _______ nature.
[ ] secretive, curious
[ ] mistrustful
[ ] disagreeable
[x] open, good
Kathy sees beyond Tommy's tantrums and recognises the change when his good nature begins to display itself
4. Kathy explains that older students appreciated Miss Lucy's "brisk style". Which of Miss Lucy's characteristics does this phrase describe?
[x] 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
5. Much of the novel is related through Kathy's memories. What does this tell us about her character?
[ ] She is cold and unforgiving
[x] 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
6. 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
[x] Telling Tommy about the pornographic magazines
[ ] Humiliating Tommy in front of Kathy
Ruth compulsively manipulates the people who care about her
7. What is Ruth's motivation for keeping Tommy and Kathy apart?
[ ] Jealousy
[ ] A fear of being left out
[ ] A need to feel special
[x] 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
8. Which of the following best describes Madame?
[ ] She cares for her career more than she cares for the clones
[x] 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
9. When Tommy is first introduced, which of the following is his most prominent characteristic?
[x] A tendency towards anger
[ ] Curiosity
[ ] A tendency towards depression
[ ] Unfriendliness
Kathy recalls an episode when the other boys were attempting to provoke Tommy into one of his famous tantrums
10. 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
[x] 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