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Explore How Themes Develop in 'Never Let Me Go'

In this worksheet, students will explore the development of themes throughout 'Never Let Me Go', considering how they are presented through the writer's techniques and how they reflect the key contextual factors surrounding the novel.

'Explore How Themes Develop in 'Never Let Me Go'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Year:  GCSE

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   Eduqas, OCR, AQA,

Curriculum topic:   Post-1914 Prose / Drama, Modern Prose or Drama, Modern Texts: Prose

Curriculum subtopic:   Never Let Me Go

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

car on road


How does Ishiguro develop his themes throughout 'Never Let Me Go'?


Remember that just as the characters in 'Never Let Me Go' are on a journey, so is the reader.


The main characters in 'Never Let Me Go' are on a journey to becoming donors but this journey sees the usual challenges of life, such as building and maintaining relationships and the search for personal identity. Ishiguro's themes are developed through their stories.


However, the reader is also part of this journey, particularly because of the narrative choices Ishiguro makes.

Ishiguro uses a non-linear narrative - Kathy is the first-person narrator and the use of flash-forwards and flashback show her reminiscing about the past and jumping around between different memories.


Indeed, lots of the details about the dystopian society Ishiguro writes about, remains a mystery until the end, meaning some of the themes are not fully explored until the very last chapters of the novel. The reader has to piece together information themselves before the full truth is revealed at the end.


 In the exam you will need to be able to write about the presentation of themes, considering how they change and develop throughout the novel.

Remember that you will also need to analyse the techniques Ishiguro uses to present these themes and consider how they reflect the context in which he was writing.  

Have a go at the following questions to explore how themes develop in more detail.


You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples.  These quotations are for reference only.

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