I really enjoyed and endorse many of the points Bynum made in the chapter Metamorphosis and Identity. My favorite part was the first point of her conclusion where she discusses how “these dichotomies of nature versus nurture, biology versus social construction… do not seem to me to give us the help we need to deal compassionately with ourselves or with others” (Bynum 187). This point is so insightful to me — these difficult questions that we agonize over and spend so much time thinking about are ultimately obsolete if we are not compassionate and loving to one another. None of the questions about the morality of cloning even matter if we are not willing/able to be compassionate to ourselves or others to begin with. I think that this is why Ishiguro’s focus on the emotions of the clones in Never Let Me Go was such a brilliant move, because it showed that despite the world having given them an “identity” of being less than human, they did still display love and understanding of themselves and of others. Ishiguro shows that our lack of compassion is prematurely ending the lives of other beings, beings that are just as capable as we are.
Bynum continues to say (at least in my interpretation of her writing) in her first point that we do indeed still need an identity of some form. However, the traditional ways of defining ourselves (as pointed out above) are inherently flawed. We need a sense of identity that is “more labile and nuanced” as Bynum puts it (187). She concludes that what we really need are metaphors and stories ”that will help us imagine a world in which we really change yet really remain the same thing” (188). While I don’t necessarily think that this is the only technique we should use in attempting to define ourselves, I do think that using metaphors and stories like this is a very powerful tool in accomplishing this impossible(?) task. They can, as Bynum poetically puts it, reveal to us that we are “shapes with stories, always changing but also always carrying traces of what we were before.”