Short on time?

Get essay writing help

Never Let Me Go' and 'Gattaca': Optimism through Pessimism

Words: 1502
Pages: 3
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

In both ‘Never Let Me Go’ and ‘Gattaca’ they both end optimistically and which I do agree on because at the end of both texts there is something good that happens, that is optimistic. There can be a great satisfaction for the reader or viewer in a storyline that has a conclusive ending, where the hopes, dreams and relationship issues of the characters and their sense of connection to their world are resolved or understood. However, an open ending can leave the audience with a sense of hope and confidence, even when it may not have existed throughout the text or film. This is the case with Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel ‘Never Let Me Go’ and Andrew Niccol’s film ‘Gattaca’, that portray dystopian worlds in which individuals are controlled and exploited. Both the novel and film leave the audience with some sense of optimism based on the connections that have grown between individuals within these harsh worlds. The characters find hope in the relationships they build, in the strength of determination they feel to hold onto what is important to them and in the subsequent sense of control over their lives and identity, within a society that has been set out from their birth, to control them.

A sense of optimism and hope is achieved through the building of human connections. When Vincent, the protagonist in ‘Gattaca’ is born, his mother’s joy is quickly subdued by the reading of his genetic potential. Vincent tells us “10 fingers, 10 toes, that’s all that used to matter, not now”. At this moment Vincent becomes a prisoner of his genes and loses his capacity to be viewed as having potential. His future is mapped out for him and is limited by his genes. However, in the concluding scenes, Vincent is moving away from the sense of loss he has for most of his life towards the realization that he has gained so much through the relationship he has formed with others. As he worked to achieve his personal goals, he relied on others in a way that he hadn’t foreseen. He inspired Jerome, Irene and Lamar by refusing to accept the genetic fate that society had handed him. They, in turn, gained a new perspective on their own lives as they supported him to achieve his goal. Vincent becomes aware that it was relationships that helped him succeed and that no matter how hard he had worked, he couldn’t have achieved his goal without others. He becomes aware as he leaves for Titan that the memories and people that are precious to him are hard to leave behind. Kathy, the protagonist in ‘Never Let Me Go’, and her friends live their lives within the controls of a society that has turned its back on the horrors of harvesting the organs of clones, in order to continue enjoying the benefits of the dispensable population. Despite this inhumane treatment, Kathy and her friends, in contrast to Vincent, are accepting of their fate. Kathy, Tommy and Ruth’s lives are intertwined from Kathy’s earliest memories of Hailsham that she shares with the reader, to the final pages of where she reflects on their friendship, both the happy and difficult times. Kathy and her friends have found things to live for, against the dark background of their fate, without parents, they look to each other and their teachers for connection that are as close to love as they might be able to achieve. In this abusive society, Kathy feels a true connection to Tommy when they are at Norfolk searching for the Judy Bridgewater tape. “Everything suddenly felt perfect, an hour set aside, stretching ahead of us and there wasn’t a better way to spend it”. There is a sense of optimism that their lives have not been complete without love, when Tommy admits to Kathy, when she is his carer, that he felt that same way. This is a sense of optimism that comes from the characters’ relationships with others, in both the novel and the film.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

Determination to commit to, and hold onto a dream, or sense of what is important, is key to achieving a degree of optimism. Vincent endured a great deal of pain and hardship in “becoming” Jerome but never gave up on his dream to become a space traveler at Gattaca. Jerome tells Vincent “I only lent you my body. You lent me your dreams”. Jerome commits to helping him achieve his vision so completely, that he becomes like a brother to Vincent. Vincent, through rejecting the limitations imposed upon his by society and his genetic reading, not only achieved a sense of hope in his own life but gave Jerome a sense of purpose that transformed his life also. Likewise, Irene and Lamar see the world differently, as a result of supporting Vincent to achieve his quest, with Lamar now having a sense of optimism that his son can also explore his potential. The characters in ‘Never Let Me Go’ have a commitment to hold onto the dream that Hailsham was a good place to grow up, where they were cared for by people who had their best interests at heart. Chrissie and Rodney and students from other schools have heard about Hailsham and about the special privileges of Hailsham and Kathy’s memories of her childhood are recalled with a fondness. As she and her friends become increasingly aware of their dark fate as clones, they keep the darkness separate from their memory of Hailsham. They are committed to maintaining a sense of connection with their childhood place and friendships, that is separate from the horrors that it was preparing them for. This allows them to look back on their lives with some sense of satisfaction, and face their fates with a degree of confidence, if not quite an optimism. Ultimately, despite the harsh realities of the dystopian societies, the key characters commit to something they believe in, and this gives the ending of both novel and film, some sense of optimism.

Achieving a sense of control, in the face of adversity, lessens the sense of pessimism brought on by a controlling society, and allows for some measure of confidence and calm. As Vincent is leaving the Gattaca facility, he looks at Jerome’s lock of hair and realizes that the bitter memories he had growing up as an ‘in-valid’ have been overwritten with a strong sense of friendship and achievement. He has achieved a sense of control over his life that he lacked as a child and young adult when society attempted to control his sense of identity and pathway in life. Vincent has an uncompromising will to break free from this conformity and fate, to follow his dreams and recreate himself. He leaves with a sense of confidence and calmness at achieving his vision. Kathy, who has been so meek in accepting her fate as a carer and donor takes control of the one part of her life that she treasures the most, her memories of her friendship. The reader is left with a sense of optimism when she insists on the preciousness of her memories. Despite her acceptance of what she has lost and sacrificed in life, she is determined in the end, to keep her memories. “The memories I value most, I don’t see them ever fading. I lost Ruth, then I lost Tommy, but I won’t lose my memories of them. I’ll have Hailsham safely in my head and that’ll be something no one can take away”. It is the only time that the reader senses some defiance is Kathy. Kathy’s control over her memories gives her a sense of hope in an inhumane world. Ending the film and novel at a point where both Vincent and Kathy feel they have control over something that is important to them, leaves the audience with some sense of optimism.

Both Ishiguro’s novel ‘Never Let Me Go’ and Niccol’s film ‘Gattaca’ look pessimistically at the potential ethics and issues surrounding scientific experimentation on humans and yet both end with some sense of optimism. It can be seen that when individuals can find hope from the relations they form, and their belief in, and commitment to, a purpose or way of viewing their life, they achieve some degree of control which allows them to see beyond the cruel fate that society has planned for them. The key characters of Vincent and Kathy are reflective in their lives at the end and are without regrets. Vincent has a sense of finding ‘home’ as he leaves for Titan, and Kathy is almost defiant in her belief that she has control over her memories and that these are what she holds most important. The worlds of Vincent and Kathy are shrouded with a sense of darkness through much of their lives, yet both Niccol and Ishiguro have allowed the audience to experience some optimism in their ending as Vicent and Kathy find a sense of their own identity and self in a world that has tried to suppress their individuality.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

Never Let Me Go’ and ‘Gattaca’: Optimism through Pessimism. (2023, January 31). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 29, 2023, from
“Never Let Me Go’ and ‘Gattaca’: Optimism through Pessimism.” Edubirdie, 31 Jan. 2023,
Never Let Me Go’ and ‘Gattaca’: Optimism through Pessimism. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2023].
Never Let Me Go’ and ‘Gattaca’: Optimism through Pessimism [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Jan 31 [cited 2023 Sept 29]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.