Gathering Blue

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Christopher Character Analysis

Katrina’s husband and Kira’s father. Kira believes Christopher to be dead until the last chapters of the book. In the village, Christopher was an excellent hunter and a charismatic leader, and he was supposed to join the Council of Guardians before Jamison stabbed him in the back and left him to die. Instead of succumbing to his wounds, Christopher found himself among a community of kind, compassionate people, all of whom had injuries or deformities of some kind—Christopher himself lost his eyesight after he was stabbed. Christopher cares deeply for his wife and daughter. Nevertheless, he understands when Kira explains that she must stay behind in the village instead of going with him to his new community.

Christopher Quotes in Gathering Blue

The Gathering Blue quotes below are all either spoken by Christopher or refer to Christopher. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Houghton Mifflin edition of Gathering Blue published in 2012.
Chapter 11 Quotes

The fabric gave a kind of answer but it was no more than a flutter, like a breeze across her that she would not remember when she woke at dawn. The scrap told her something of her father — something important, something that mattered — but the knowledge entered her sleep, trembling through like a dream, and in the morning she did not know that it was there at all.

Related Characters: Kira, Christopher
Related Symbols: Kira’s Cloth / Thomas’s Carving
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

At this point in the novel, Kira's creativity and intuition fail her. She's been told that the "beasts" that supposedly surround her village are just myths, and she's beginning to distrust Jamison and the other Guardians who rule her village. And yet Kira isn't sure what the future holds. Basically, she's beginning to doubt the reality of her community, but she doesn't know what to put in its place.

Because Kira's cloth is a symbol of artistic creativity and intuition, the quotation suggests that Kira, in spite of her obvious talent, isn't a full artist yet. Previously, Kira's creative instinct has helped her decide how to interact with the Guardians; now, however, she's clueless. By the time the novel is over, Kira will have discovered a way to use art to tell the truth, exposing the Guardians' lies to the villagers. For the time being, though, she'll have to wait for artistic inspiration to hit her.

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Chapter 21 Quotes

"Kira," he said, but he did not need to tell her now, because she knew, "my name is Christopher. I'm your father."
In shock, she stared at him. She watched his ruined eyes, and saw that they were able, still, to weep.

Related Characters: Kira, Christopher
Page Number: 221
Explanation and Analysis:

In this scene, Kira reunites with her father, Christopher, whom she can barely remember. Christopher (who was driven out of the village by his rival, Jamison) has spent the last decade living in the community of invalids--a place where compassion is celebrated instead of condemned.

The scene is interesting because there's no way for Kira to know, to a certainty, that the blind man standing before her is her father. And yet Lowry makes it clear that Kira and Christopher are related: she shows that they're kindred spirits, linked by their disability and their compassion. The fact that Christopher's eyes, though ruined, are able to weep suggests that he's a gentle, compassionate person in spite of (or because of) his physical weakness--just as Kira is a more gentle, compassionate person because of her lame leg.

Chapter 22 Quotes

“We have gardens. Houses. Families. But it is much quieter than this village. There is no arguing. People share what they have, and help each other. Babies rarely cry. Children are cherished."
Kira looked at the stone pendant that rested against his blue shirt. She touched her own matching one.
"Do you have a family there?" she asked hesitantly.
"The whole village is like a family to me, Kira," he replied.

Related Characters: Kira (speaker), Christopher (speaker)
Related Symbols: Blue
Page Number: 228-229
Explanation and Analysis:

In this section, Kira reunites with her father, Christopher. Christopher has spent many years living in a faraway community that--it's pretty clear--is altogether unlike Kira's. While Kira's community is barbaric and cruel, Christopher's is compassionate, and everyone looks out for everyone else. Christopher describes how babies are cherished instead of neglected and tortured (as they are in Kira's village). One could say that Christopher's new community believes in the principle of compassion--everyone should love and help each other--while Kira's community believes in the principle of "survival of the fittest."

The presence of the color blue in this scene is another important sign of Christopher's compassion. Just as the color blue (symbolically, the emotion of compassion) is almost entirely missing in Kira's community, it's overflowing in Christopher's new home.

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Christopher Character Timeline in Gathering Blue

The timeline below shows where the character Christopher appears in Gathering Blue. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...a four-syllable name, and was the chief guardian: the leader of the village. Kira’s father, Christopher, was also meant to become a guardian before animals killed him. Thus, Katrina was able... (full context)
Chapter 4
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...that Kira was born deformed and fatherless. The chief guardian notes that Kira’s father was Christopher, and Jamison reveals that he was hunting with Christopher on the day that Christopher was... (full context)
Chapter 21
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
...mother gave her. The man addresses Kira by name, and tells her that he is Christopher, her father. As he says this, he begins to cry. (full context)
Chapter 22
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Christopher goes with Matt to find a place where he can sleep safely. Before he goes,... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Christopher continues with his story. On the day he was “killed,” he was hunting in the... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Christopher explains that as the strangers nursed him back to health, they carried him through the... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Kira, still weeping, asks Christopher why he’s never come back to the village until now. Christopher responds that for years,... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
When Matt arrived in Christopher’s new home, Christopher says, Matt said that he was looking for blue for his friend,... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Kira tells him that he’s no longer in danger. Christopher responds that he and Kira will leave the village tomorrow. Kira protests; she tells Christopher... (full context)
Chapter 23
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
It is almost dawn, after the night when Christopher reunited with Kira. Kira walks down to the dyer’s garden at the foot of the... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Kira thinks ahead to the journey she and Christopher have agreed to make: they will leave the village. Kira reflects that she will not... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Kira decides that Matt must lead Christopher back to his home. Later that same night, Kira meets Matt, Branch, Christopher, and Thomas... (full context)
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
As Christopher prepares to leave with Matt, he tells Kira that she will come to his community... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Before he departs, Christopher gives Kira a gift: in the darkness she can see that he’s holding threads. Christopher... (full context)