Instructor's Teaching Experience:
Never Let Me Go is the first novel I read with my class, and I introduce it usually in the third or fourth week of the semester. Ishiguro keeps his prose simple, and the students really take to it—it’s also a great text for teaching analysis, because there are a lot of recurring phrases/objects/concepts that builds in significance. I usually use discussions as a way to build on things that they are noticing in the text, so I often start off small group discussions with prompts like “each present one thing that confused you in the text, then pick one thing as a group and find a scene related to it.” I like letting their instincts guide our discussions, and I tend to lecture in very short bursts between general discussion, building on their responses to the Reading Journal prompts. If small group discussions need more guidance, I make themed small group worksheets (attached as a separate Word document). I usually give reading quizzes when it feels like the class is not reading, this one covers the text to the end of Part Two (attached as a separate Word document).
Reading Journal Prompt: Week One Never Let Me Go
As I settle into Ishiguro's words at the end of a long week, I am reminded of the quiet pleasure of (re)reading. I know that for a few of you, this is also not your first encounter with Never Let Me Go, but even the opening reminds me of how this novel asks us to reconsider what we know, or think we know about a text. On that note, please use this week's post to explore the first 60 pages of Never Let Me Go. Pick one recurring phrase that stuck out to you (a word, a phrase, a description that repeats more than once), and consider: how does Kathy use that particular word in her narrative? What do you, as a reader, expect in terms of the way the word/phrase/description is presented? How does the word/phrase/description seem to build in significance from its first appearance to the next?
Reading Journal Prompt: Week Two Never Let Me Go
As you read my comments for your Reading Journals, consider the discussions we have been having on what it means to close-read. Summary means telling me what happens (Kathy introduces herself). Identification means recognizing what is happening (Kathy introduces herself by stating her name, age, and her profession). Close-reading means connecting what you have identified to the rest of the text: what does it mean that she has chosen these three things to introduce herself? What is the effect of having a character named Kathy H. (instead of Kate Hudson, or Katherine Earnshaw, or K. Howard)? Why is “carer” not capitalized, and why is it significant that she stresses she’s been a carer for eleven years? (That was an example of the questions answered in close-reading. Please do not answer them in your entry.)
I have asked you to trace the trajectory of one word/phrase/description for last week. This week, I am opening up a little bit to the object or concepts that the words are connected to (some of you have already done this): so Tommy’s shirt, the Judy Bridgewater cassette tape, Norfolk. How does Kathy use that particular element in her narrative? What do you, as a reader, expect in terms of the way the element is presented? How does element seem to build in significance from its first appearance to the next? Be as specific as you can!