Personhood: Fukuyama’s Caveats and Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go

Kristine Brown


Together, fiction and rhetoric not only illustrate grim possibilities, but also the processes and rationale by which they occur. Kazuo Ishiguro’s dystopian novel Never Let Me Go (2005) documents the lives of cloned children in twentieth century England whose sole purpose is to provide organs to keep their human predecessors alive. While the children mature to become donors or caregivers to peers undergoing donation, nothing exempts them from death following repeated organ harvesting. However unnerving, the novel tells of potential realities associated with genetic engineering, a trend bioconservative political scientist Francis Fukuyama addresses in his work Our Post Human Future. This article endeavors to present Never Let Me Go as a fictional, yet appropriate supplement to Fukuyama’s writing, incorporating new historicism and accentuating Fukuyama’s points of caution in Ishiguro’s novel. Through dissecting and discerning the complementary relationship of the two works, readers may garner enriched perspectives in debates on cloning and other forms of bioengineering.


Keywords: genetic engineering; cloning; eugenics; ethics; dystopia; speculation

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