Never Let Me Go

by: Kazuo Ishiguro

Tommy

Characters Tommy

Tommy is Kathy’s close childhood friend, for whom she also harbors romantic feelings. At Hailsham, Tommy becomes an outcast among his peers because, unlike them, he lacks artistic ability. He develops a violent temper, often throwing tantrums in response to teasing from his peers. Tommy remains anxious and self-conscious about his artistic abilities as a young adult, initially keeping his artwork a secret at the Cottages. However, he also begins to derive pride and personal satisfaction from drawing. His compelling imaginary animals resist interpretation, reflecting the deep humanity and complex individuality of the clones themselves.

Tommy is in many ways more straightforward than Kathy and Ruth, often missing the subtle digs and sarcasm that they shoot back and forth. While Kathy often knowingly defends Ruth’s pretenses in front of others, Tommy usually expresses his confusion or doubt aloud. He also lacks the kind of emotional restraint that Kathy and Ruth exhibit. While Kathy and Ruth tend to express their angers and frustrations indirectly, Tommy is prone to violent temper tantrums. Yet Tommy also has vey different relationships with Ruth and Kathy. He maintains a longstanding but difficult romantic relationship with Ruth, who at times belittles and ignores him. Meanwhile, he bonds with Kathy over their mutual desire to discover the truth about Hailsham. Tommy tends to trust Kathy with his biggest secrets, including his odd conversations with Miss Lucy. In his theorizing with Kathy, Tommy also shows an observant and reflective side to his personality that mirrors her own.