Volume 6, Number 2 (June 2008) : 369--393|
Giving Form to Life
Cloning and Narrative Expectations of the Human
Rubric A: Narrative as a Way of Thinking
The essay analyzes Kazuo Ishiguro’s dystopian novel Never Let Me Go in the context of both fictional representations of cloning and the contemporary debates on the ethics of cloning. In certain debates human cloning has been framed primarily in terms of its effects on the parent-child relation and the family. But an investigation of arguments both for and against cloning reveals how this scenario privileges a specific normative narrative of individuation that prescribes the proper form for life. The conventions of cloning narratives highlight the role of this normative narrative in our constructions of the human. From movies like The Island to science fiction classics like Kate Wilhelm’s Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, these narratives betray anxieties over individuation. Never Let Me Go, on the other hand, reflects on the narrative modes that shape what it means to be human. It measures the human not in terms of some narrative of internal or immanent development but rather through the process of relating to another.