校园英语·上旬 2018年8期

【Abstract】Science has played a major role in modern literature. Taking Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro as an example, this paper analyzes the miserable fate of the clones and the impact of cloning technology on traditional bioethics.

【Key words】Never Let Me Go; Cloning Technology; Traditional Bioethics


With the appearance of Dolly in 1996, the cloning technology was officially recognized in the scientific field, which means that the human beings have mastered the technology of copying life. It immediately stirs up heated discussions and debates. Among the controversies, one has attracted the most attention: violations of traditional bioethics.

As we all know, the clones have the biological differences from the “normal” human beings. But that does not necessarily mean that they are not humans. The clones have the same DNAs with human beings, the same human features and follow the same procedure of growth. In Never Let Me Go, through Kathys recounting of her experiences in the earlier period, one can find that except for the fact that they will become donors, their life journey is almost the same as that of normal people: childhood, adolescence and adulthood. They encounter the same dilemmas in dealing with different relationships. James Buther believes that the clones are “people who are every bit as human as the members of the society who created them. They love and hate and want desperately to cling onto life” (1299). Then here comes the problem: now that they are human beings, why are their lives trampled as lifeless products?

The life divine theory holds that the human life is sacred and of supreme worth. Since the ancient times, the philosophers have emphasized the sacredness of life. The Greek philosopher Pythagoras points out that “life is sacred and no one should end his or her life.” The English scholar Alexander J. Miline also claims that “everyone deserves the right to live” (qtd. in Shangguan, 28). According to this holy view of life, no matter under what circumstances, nobody has the right to intentionally accelerate another persons death. Since the ancient times, the sacredness of life has been the ethical basis and code of conduct for medical work. The development of medical science seems to comply with this principle. The advanced technology gives hope to many patients who are suffering from once incurable diseases. Take the case in Never Let Me Go as an example: for the “normal” people, the genetic engineering and human cloning technology help to reduce their pain from the diseases and prolong their lives by organ transplantation. However, the technology of organ transplantation is disastrous to the clones. The clones are created and then sacrificed to prolong the lives of human patients. But as far as the human features of clones are concerned, the obligatory “donations” have obviously hurt the dignity of their lives. Yet, the strong desire to live longer drives the normal people to deprive the clones of their lives regardless of the traditional ethics. To ease their minds of the sense of guilt, the “normal” people persuade themselves that the clones are only “products.” The clones are treated as if they were objects in the production lines, which can be copied in abundance. The dehumanization toward the clones has obviously violated the life divine theory.

Since life is sacred, people cannot take others lives or maltreat their own body. Chinese people believe that ones body is given by his or her parents and one should take good care of his or her own body. Similarly, in the west, Christians value highly the divinity of their body. For instance, Christinity condemns the act of suicide or self-destruction because “God is the giver of life. He gives, and he takes away” (Job 1:21). The act of taking ones life or part of ones body is ungodly because it rejects Gods gift of life. But the technology of organ transplantation is based on the concept of destroying the integrity of ones body, thus it is a blasphemy to the divinity of life.

For the “normal” human beings, although the organ transplantation helps to prolong their lives when they suffer from some diseases, this technology is also a self-destruction to them. The clones are somewhat like sisters and brothers of the “normal” people. When people plunder the organs of the clones, they are actually trampling on their own body.

The development of medical technology has unquestionably helped to prolong human life. But all medical treatments should abide by the ethical codes. When the normal people are desiring for the organs of the clones, they should not forget the fact that the clones are their biological brothers and sisters.


[1]Butcher,James.“A wonderful Donation.”Lancet 365.7(2005): 1296-1300.


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