Task 3A: Character analysis and point of view

Task 3A asks you to write a character analysis of Tommy and Kathy from the “Never Let Me Go” extract and comment on how the point of view is important for your understanding of these two characters.


Tommy’s character is presented in the excerpt from the point of view of the first-person narrator Kathy, but also from the perspective of other characters (Ruth, Laura, and the other students).

His outer characterisation presents him as a boy who is good at football— “at which he so excelled” (l. 7) — and wears a “light blue polo shirt” (p. 9, l. 8).

Inner characterisation

Tommy’s inner characterisation is rendered both directly and indirectly.

From the point of view of others, he is a target for mocking because of his arrogance. A pupil, Laura, imitates his gestures and comments on his tantrums ironically saying that he is “rehearsing his Shakespeare.” (p. 10, l. 8): “Laura — the big clown in our group —mimicking one after the other the expressions that appeared on Tommy’s face as he ran, waved, called, tackled.” (p. 9, ll. 12-14)

To the other students say he is “a layabout” (p. 10, l. 18), someone who is a slacker, and his angry gestures after not being picked to play in a team make him look ““like a dog doing a pee” (p. 10, l. 10). Furthermore, Ruth describes him as a “mad animal” (p. 11, l. 16) after he accidentally hits Kathy.

But most of Tommy’s gestures and attitude are presented from the point of view of Kathy, the narrator. Initially, Tommy comes across as a boy who is full of himself, confident in his football skills and certain that he is going to be the first to be picked for a team: “...I saw Tommy rushing about that field, undisguised delight on his face to be accepted back in the fold again, about to play the game...” (p. 9, ll. 5-7); “…but Tommy, in his excitement, seemed already to be going full pelt.” (p. 9, ll.  15-16); “But Tommy was looking eagerly at the Senior 3 boy, as though his name had already been called.” (p. 9, ll. 29-30)

However, when the teams are formed, and any of the captains does not pick him, Tommy throws a tantrum, in a way typical of him. He shouts and screams and reacts aggressively:

Tommy burst into thunderous bellowing, and the boys, now laughing openly, (…)it was hard to say whether his instinct was to give angry chase or if he was panicked at being left behind. In any case he soon stopped and stood there, glaring after them, his ...

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