Kathy H. is a thirty-one-year-old clone who has been bred for her organs to be harvested when she reaches adulthood. She works as a "carer," a kind of nurse-cum-companion to clones who are in the process of making their donations, and is very good at her job. Never Let Me Go follows her life story. Kathy is empathetic, mild-mannered, and passive.
Kathy's best friend from childhood. Despite her selfishness and pathological lying, Ruth has excellent social intelligence, and often perceives realities that others miss. For example, she is the first to notice that Madame is afraid of the students, and she correctly deduces Kathy’s feelings for Tommy when they live together at the Cottages. Ruth goes out with Tommy, but eventually feels badly about keeping him away from Kathy. Late in life, she tries to make amends.
Tommy D. is another one of Kathy's classmates at Hailsham. As a boy, he is ostracized by the other students because of his short temper and immaturity. As an adult, he is kind-hearted, enthusiastic, and painfully naïve. He is involved in a love triangle with Kathy and Ruth.
Also known as Nurse Trisha, Crow Face is the students' nickname for the unpleasant nurse at Hailsham.
A kind guardian and art teacher. Miss Geraldine is especially beloved by the younger students.
Miss Emily is the head guardian and the leader of Hailsham. As adults, Kathy and Tommy learn that she was a prominent advocate for the humane treatment of clones.
A brusque, athletically built guardian who believes the students should be taught everything about their futures as organ donors.
A mysterious French woman who periodically visits Hailsham to take the students' best art away to "the Gallery." It is later revealed that she is also an activist for progressive treatment of clones, and the art is to prove that the clones have souls.
A Hailsham student one year older than Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth. He initiates the “tokens controversy.”
A Hailsham girl in Kathy’s year who is expelled from Ruth’s “secret guard.”
An outgoing, vivacious Hailsham student in Kathy’s year. She has great difficulty when she is required to become a carer.
A handsome, quiet boy with whom Kathy plots to have sex in her last year at Hailsham. This never happens and when she sees him at a recovery center years later, he does not recognize her.
The grumpy caretaker at the Cottages.
A close friend of Kathy’s from Hailsham.
A very beautiful "veteran" at the Cottages who seems to suffer from low self-esteem. Chrissie is unusually interested in Hailsham, which she did not attend, and is in a co-dependent relationship with Rodney.
A handsome, laid-back veteran in a relationship with Chrissie.
Never Let Me Go Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Never Let Me Go is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Ruth is important to Kathy because she's one of her only friends from Hailsham which means Ruth is also one of her links to remind her of Hailsham once they move to the cottages. This also answers your question of why Kathy makes excuses for Ruth....
The characters in Never Let Me Go place a cultural premium on conformity––for example, Kathy repeatedly emphasizes how "typical" she is, and Ruth blatantly copies the gestures of older students at the Cottages. The...