Gathering Blue

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A young girl who is an excellent signer and who was abducted by the Council of Guardians and forced to life in the Edifice, studying music. Jo will become the future singer when the current Singer dies. When Kira discovers Jo’s presence in the Council Edifice and begins to take care of her, Jo comes to regard Kira as a mother figure.

Jo Quotes in Gathering Blue

The Gathering Blue quotes below are all either spoken by Jo or refer to Jo. 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 15 Quotes

“So we are each artists, and we were each orphaned, and they brought us each here.”

Related Characters: Kira (speaker), Thomas the Carver, Jo
Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:

In this section, Kira begins to see that the Guardians aren't as trustworthy as they've seemed. Kira is an orphan, brought to live with the Guardians shortly after her mother's death. The same is true of Jo and Thomas: their parents were mysteriously killed, after which they came to make art for the Ruin Ceremony. Kira realizes the truth: the Guardians are probably responsible for their parents' deaths. Recognizing that art is extremely important to the community, the Guardians have killed villagers in order to control their children.

Kira's realization suggests that art—far from being useless, as she'd previously been taught—is of the utmost importance to the village, and to the Guardians' power. Indeed, art is so important that the Guardians are willing to murder innocent people just to be able to control it. Kira won't fully grasp the importance of art to the Guardians until the book's final chapter.

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Chapter 16 Quotes

As Kira prepared for bed, she thought about the frightened, lonely tyke below. What songs were they forcing her to learn? Why was she here at all? Ordinarily an orphaned tyke would be turned over to another family. It was the same question that she and Thomas had discussed the day before. And the answer seemed to be the conclusion they had reached: they were artists, the three of them. Makers of song, of wood, of threaded patterns. Because they were artists, they had some value that she could not comprehend. Because of that value, the three of them were here, well fed, well housed, and nurtured.

Related Characters: Kira (speaker), Thomas the Carver, Jo
Page Number: 170-171
Explanation and Analysis:

Kira has discovered that there's a small child living in the Guardians' building: Jo. Like Kira and Thomas, Jo is a talented artist--her singing will be featured at the annual Ruin Ceremony, alongside Kira's weaving and Thomas's woodcutting. Strangely, thinking about Jo's situation--locked away in a strange building--makes Kira more aware of her own. She and Jo are no different: they've both been ripped away from their old homes and "imprisoned" in the Council Edifice. Although Kira is allowed to leave the building at any time, she's only offered such freedom because the Guardians are confident that she'll come back every time: she's too frightened of beasts, and too addicted to nice clothes and warm baths to run off. Jo, a younger and less complacent child, might run away without warning; as a result, she has to be locked up. Kira realizes that she, Jo, and Thomas are being imprisoned because of their artistic abilities--her task is now to find out what use the Guardians have for them.

Chapter 23 Quotes

The three of them — the new little Singer who would one day take the chained Singer's place; Thomas the Carver, who with his meticulous tools wrote the history of the world; and she herself, the one who colored that history — they were the artists who could create the future.

Related Characters: Kira, Thomas the Carver, Jo
Related Symbols: The Robe, Staff, and Ruin Song, The Singer’s Chain
Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:

In this important quotation, Kira first begins to realize how powerful she, Thomas, and Jo are. Because they have artistic talent, they've been tasked with performing and depicting the history of the world. Indeed, the Ruin Ceremony--the cloak, the staff, the song, etc.--is itself a history of human civilization, which Kira and her friends are tasked with polishing year after year.

Kira begins to realize how powerful she is: she has the ability to tell a story of the future, rather than merely rehashing the past. As long as Kira obeys the guardians and simply repairs the Singer's robe year after year, she's sending a message to the people of the village that nothing is ever going to change. But if she were to change the robe to depict a better potential future, then Kira could send a different message to her audience of villagers.

The guardians with their stern faces had no creative power. But they had strength and cunning, and they had found a way to steal and harness other people's powers for their own needs. They were forcing the children to describe the future they wanted, not the one that could be.

Related Characters: Kira, Thomas the Carver, Jo
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quotation, Kira comes to realize how the guardians use art and performance to control their society. Kira, along with her friends Thomas and Jo, are inadvertently using their gifts to tell a story about society: a story in which there is no progress; just continuous death and destruction. By telling this story at the Ruin Ceremony, year after year, Kira and her fellow artists contribute to the culture of the village--in other words, they're helping reinforce the idea that the universe is dark and dangerous, and it's every man for himself. The guardians want to maintain this worldview, because it allows them to control society, knowing that the villagers are too competitive, disorganized, and afraid to revolt. Throughout the novel, Kira has been told that her gifts are both useful and useless. Here, at the novel's end, she finally realizes why art is so important: it creates attitudes and mindsets. By upholding the wrong status quo with her art, Kira accidentally keeps evil people in power.

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Jo Character Timeline in Gathering Blue

The timeline below shows where the character Jo appears in Gathering Blue. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 13
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...the child’s voice, Matt whispers to Kira that the child is a friend of his, Jo, who lived in the Fen. Kira, Matt, and Thomas decide to return to Kira’s room... (full context)
Chapter 14
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
...her, and Kira stops to talk. Kira asks Marlena if she knew a tyke named Jo who used to sing; Marlena isn’t familiar with the name “Jo,” but says that she... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Kira locates the door where she heard Jamison talking to Jo, and finds that it’s locked. She quietly calls Jo’s name. To her surprise, Kira hears... (full context)
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...her, sadly, that Annabella has died. Kira, who’s suddenly uneasy around Jamison, does not mention Jo to him. (full context)
Chapter 15
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...that this is typical of boys. Kira tells Thomas that she found the door to Jo’s room yesterday, and discovered that it was locked. This doesn’t surprise Thomas. When he was... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Thomas realizes that the three of them—Kira, Thomas, and Jo—are “artists.” Thomas has seen this word in books. As he understands it, it means someone... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...he and Kira have good lives: food, work, etc. Kira is unwilling to forget about Jo, and tells Thomas that she plans to help Jo. At first, Thomas tells Kira that... (full context)
Chapter 16
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...Kira tells Thomas to bring his wood carving with him when they go to find Jo. Kira takes her cloth. To muffle their sounds, Thomas rips cloth off his shirt, and... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Thomas and Kira quietly walk to the Jo’s room on the lower floor. Kira’s cloth tells her that they’re not in danger. Thomas... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Jo tells Kira and Thomas that the guardians make her learn new songs, and then she... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Kira and Thomas leave Jo, and Jo tells them that she feels better knowing that she has friends. Kira tucks... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Thomas and Kira return to their quarters. Alone in her room, Kira thinks about Jo, forced to live by herself. Kira wonders why Jo is being forced to learn songs.... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
It is midday, the day after Thomas and Kira unlocked Jo’s door. Kira has just finished eating lunch with Thomas in his room; she suggests that... (full context)
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...he finds the Fen dirty and disgusting. Kira says that she wants to see where Jo lived. She adds, nervously, that she hasn’t seen Matt in two days. Thomas agrees to... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
...points them toward a cott with a fallen tree outside it. Kira also asks about Jo; in response, the woman’s face lights up with joy for a split second, and then... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...tells Thomas that she was afraid the Council has kidnapped Matt the way it kidnapped Jo. Thomas replies that Matt has no skills that make him worth kidnapping. Kira says that... (full context)
Chapter 18
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...days. Kira touches her cloth, hoping for consolation, but she feels none. Sometimes, she hears Jo chanting repetitively downstairs. Occasionally, Kira hears Jo singing a high, beautiful melody, as if she’s... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
At night, Kira visits Jo. Jo no longer asks for her mother, but she holds Kira. Jo tells Kira that... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...in his own quarters of the Edifice. As she listens to Jamison, Kira thinks about Jo, but doesn’t say anything. (full context)
Chapter 19
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...one day. When the chief guardian announces this, a side door opens, and guards push Jo forward toward her chair. Kira whispers that Jo should stand and look proud for a... (full context)
Chapter 20
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...Gathering ceremony began. Thomas and Kira listen to the Singer perform the Ruin Song while Jo sleeps. Kira listens to the Song, and is surprised to find that she isn’t bored... (full context)
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...singing so that everyone can eat lunch and relax. As Kira and Thomas eat with Jo in Kira’s room, Matt rushes in, followed by Branch. Matt announces that he’s been on... (full context)
Chapter 21
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
The Gathering ends with the Singer and Jo waving and bowing before the audience. Afterwards, Kira and Thomas walk back to their quarters.... (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
...to work on the robe for them. It’s also possible, Kira realizes, that they killed Jo and Thomas’s parents to gain control of other artists, as well. (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...the squalor or violence of her old life, but she will miss Thomas, Matt, and Jo. As she thinks of Jo, she remembers what she saw at the Gathering. When 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 realizes how the guardians maintain their power. By controlling artists—Kira, Thomas, and Jo—the guardians, who have no creativity themselves, can commission and control a vision of the future... (full context)