This GCSE English Literature quiz looks at the context of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. Context is very similar to setting. You might even think of it as the author’s setting. The context for any particular text means the environment in which it was written. Context includes social issues, geographical location and political events, some of which are contemporary to the author and other which are from the recent past. The author’s personal beliefs also provide some context for any work of fiction.
It is important to understand the context of a fictional work because of the effects which this has on the meaning of text.
The relationship between the two can be complicated, however. History itself is complex and does not dictate the meaning of any text. Instead, the context of a work is mediated through the mind and aims of the author.
When writing about context, pay the closest attention to the text itself. What does it say about history, about politics, or about social issues? This is what is important. It can be useful to research a novel’s context. What was happening at the time it was written? What were the lively public debates of the time? Understanding context can help you better understand the meaning of the text or of the issues it raises. Context is not everything, of course, and good texts continue creating meaning long after the time when they are written.
Remember to distinguish between the setting of the text and its context. Even a text which is set in a time and place very close to that when it was written will be affected by the difference between setting and context. Thinking about the relationship between the two will help you to understand the text more deeply.
Research the context of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, remembering everything you have learned in English lessons, and try these questions to see how much you know.