Gathering Blue

Pdf fan Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)

Matt Character Analysis

A young, rambunctious boy, probably around seven, who lives in the Fen near the village. Matt is a close friend of Kira’s. Though he affects swagger and strength, two qualities that make him try to emulate the village’s hunters, Matt is a sensitive, compassionate boy, as shown by the way he cares for Branch, his dog, after Branch is crushed under a cart—indeed, aside from Kira, Matt is the most compassionate and sensitive character in the novel. At many points, Matt struggles between the influence of Kira, who encourages him to be polite and kind, and the influence of the villagers, who encourage him to be wild and violent. Ultimately, he seems to side with Kira: he comes to understand the idea of a gift, which Kira has been struggling to teach him, and agrees to escort Christopher back to his community, suggesting that Matt himself will be surrounded by kind, caring people.

Matt Quotes in Gathering Blue

The Gathering Blue quotes below are all either spoken by Matt or refer to Matt. 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 6 Quotes

Matt heard him and looked up toward Kira in dismay. "No. Me and Branch, we be going now," he said. Then with an expression of concern, he asked, "You don't be captive here, do you?" "No, she's not a captive," Jamison reassured Matt. "Why would you think that?

Related Characters: Matt (speaker), Jamison (speaker)
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Matt--Kira's young, boastful friend--visits Kira in her new home among the Guardians. Although Kira's home is beautiful and luxurious, Matt is suspicious that Kira is a prisoner, a suggestion that Jamison immediately rebuts.

Although Matt's comment seems childish and objectively wrong, there's actually something very perceptive about it. Matt seems to sense that Kira is now under the close control of the Guardians--although she has a nice home, and is even allowed to leave it when she wants, she's being forced to work for the Guardians, repairing the Singer's robe for the Ruin Ceremony. Matt's question foreshadows Kira's realization at the end of the novel: she really is a prisoner to the Guardians--year after year, she'll be forced to work for them to ensure that the all-important Ruin Ceremony goes off without a hitch. Kira lives in the nicest prison cell ever built--but she's still a prisoner.

A+

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other Gathering Blue quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!
Chapter 20 Quotes

"Them be all broken, them people. But there be plenty of food. And it's quiet-like, and nice."
"What do you mean, broken?"
He gestured toward her twisted leg. "Like you. Some don't walk good. Some be broken in other ways. Not all. But lots. Do you think it makes them quiet and nice, to be broken?"
Puzzled by his description, Kira didn't answer. Pain makes you strong, her mother had told her. She had not said quiet, or nice.
"Anyways," Matt went on, "them got blue, for certain sure."

Related Characters: Matt (speaker), Kira
Related Symbols: Blue
Page Number: 210-211
Explanation and Analysis:

Kira reunites with Matt, who's been traveling to a far-away community. Matt describes the community he's just visited: it's peaceful, kind, and "nice." Furthermore, everyone in the community is wounded or disabled in some way: people have broken legs, are blind, etc.

In a way, Matt's report reiterates everything we already knew about pain and kindness, based on Kira's behavior. Kira has spent her life without full control of her legs. Largely as a result, she's grown into a kind, gentle person who doesn't bully others for their weaknesses. So although Kira finds the link between pain and compassion a little surprising, we don't--it's no coincidence that Kira is both the most compassionate character in the novel and the only disabled one. Lowry reinforces the connection between compassion, pain, and Kira in this passage by then alluding to the color blue--both Kira's favorite color and an important symbol of compassion. Blue is missing from the village, the Guardians, and the Singer's robe, just as compassion is—but according to Matt, blue is plentiful among this community of the disabled.

Get the entire Gathering Blue LitChart as a printable PDF.
Gathering blue.pdf.medium

Matt Character Timeline in Gathering Blue

The timeline below shows where the character Matt appears in Gathering Blue. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Kira sees a boy of eight or nine years, named Matt. Matt is Kira’s friend. He lives in the Fen, and is probably the son of... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Matt is holding an armful of twigs. He tells Kira that her cott, or house, has... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Before leaving to collect more fire twigs, Matt tells Kira that the women of the village want to send Kira to the Field... (full context)
Chapter 2
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...the meantime, though, she decides to continue rebuilding her mother’s cott. She will go to Matthew, a carpenter and old friend of her mothers, and offer him her weaving in exchange... (full context)
Chapter 4
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Kira sees Matt as she waits outside the Council Edifice. Matt tells her that he and other tykes... (full context)
Chapter 5
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Kira leaves the Council Edifice, and hears Matt calling her. Kira smiles and notes that Matt’s curiosity equals her own. She notices his... (full context)
Chapter 6
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
The bell at the Council Edifice rings four times, and Kira and Matt meet at the steps outside. Kira is carrying an armful of things she stored near... (full context)
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...she’d be preparing for marriage if it weren’t for her leg. Kira tells Jamison that Matt is waiting outside with the rest of her possessions, and Jamison orders the guard to... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Once the guards have brought Matt and his dog to Kira, Jamison leads the three of them through the corridor of... (full context)
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Jamison shows Kira a bathtub with running water. He offers Matt the chance to bathe, but Matt says that he and his dog must leave. He... (full context)
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...of the things lying around her in the room, including her all-important threading frame, which Matt brought her. Matt has also brought Kira dried herbs, which Katrina used as medicines. She... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...around her neck: a small rock pendant that her mother used to wear, and which Matt brought her. The rock feels small and cold, and doesn’t bring her any comfort. She... (full context)
Chapter 8
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
The morning after her conversation with Jamison, Kira meets Matt and tells him that she wants to go to the woods to see Annabella. Matt... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Kira and Matt walk through the forest to Annabella. As they walk, Kira asks Matt about his father.... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
After many hours of walking, which Kira finds difficult due to her leg, Kira and Matt reach a small cottage, inside which Matt sees an old woman. Kira enters the cottage,... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
...different color: red, yellow, mauve, gold, brown, and green. After hours of this, Annabella gives Matt, Branch, and Kira water. She tells Kira that Katrina said Kira had great talent in... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...this storm, she continues, a few shoots of woad will survive and begin to grow. Matt asks who might have woad, and Annabella tells him that the people “yonder” have it. (full context)
Chapter 9
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
...the village from his window: a hunt is being organized. Kira notices with horror that Matt, armed with a tiny spear, is preparing to join the hunt. At first, Thomas can’t... (full context)
Chapter 10
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Kira and Thomas run through the crowd to stop Matt. Kira has very little experience in the world of men, as men lead separate lives... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Kira shouts Matt’s name, but he responds that his name is “Mattie” now—Kira insists that he won’t be... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Later that night, Kira tries to explain how her cloth warned her about Matt, but finds it difficult to explain. Thomas suggests that the cloth speaks to Kira and... (full context)
Chapter 11
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...chapter, Kira visits Annabella in her cottage. She goes there alone, a little frightened, since Matt has grown bored with their visits. When Annabella asks her why she’s frightened, Kira tells... (full context)
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...there are no beasts in the forest. Kira thinks that Annabella sounds as childish as Matt. She tells Annabella that she heard growls, but Annabella insists that Kira heard a human... (full context)
Chapter 12
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...that she can talk to him about the beasts. It also occurs to her that Matt might have seen beasts during his journeys through the forest. (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
...telling her that there is blue “yonder.” As she thinks about “yonder,” she wonders where Matt could be, since Matt is adventurous and loves to explore the unknown. (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Thomas enters Kira’s room, and tells Kira that Matt and Branch have come to the Edifice—Matt’s mother threw him out for being a troublemaker.... (full context)
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Matt arrives at Kira’s room; he’s been finishing breakfast downstairs. Kira asks Matt if he’s ever... (full context)
Chapter 13
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...in a harsh tone that Kira’s never heard before. After listening to the child’s voice, Matt whispers to Kira that the child is a friend of his, Jo, who lived in... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Back in Kira’s room, Matt explains how he knows the child from the lower floor. She was a gifted singer,... (full context)
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...day, Jamison comes to Kira’s room. By this time, Thomas has returned to work and Matt has left the Edifice. Jamison examines Kira’s progress, and while his tone and expression are... (full context)
Chapter 14
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Matt — who stole Marlena’s lunch yesterday, Marlena says — arrives at the weaving shed with... (full context)
Chapter 16
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...butcher, and the progress of the women working in the weaving shed. She wonders if Matt is walking through the village with Branch, but can’t see him. (full context)
Chapter 17
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...that she wants to see where Jo lived. She adds, nervously, that she hasn’t seen Matt in two days. Thomas agrees to go the Fen, suggesting that they’ll probably find Matt... (full context)
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...village toward the Fen. As they walk, they ask women and workers if they’ve seen Matt, but everyone says that they’re glad not to have seen him. A woman asks Kira... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
Thomas asks a group of boys if they’ve seen Matt. The group tells him that Matt’s mother threw a rock at him to punish him... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
...encountered on the day of the hunt. Kira asks the woman if she knows where Matt is, and the woman asks for food in return. Thomas gives her an apple he... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
Men, Women, and Gender Roles Theme Icon
...knock on the door of the cott, and a woman opens it. Thomas asks where Matt is, and the woman suspiciously asks why they want to know. Kira notices that the... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
As Thomas and Kira turn to walk away from Matt’s cott, a tyke, Matt’s brother, runs out of the cott and tells them he knows... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...about what they’ve learned. Kira 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... (full context)
Chapter 18
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...are quieter, and some even bathe. Thomas is polishing the Singer’s staff with thick oils. Matt has not returned from his quest to find blue, even though he’s been gone for... (full context)
Chapter 19
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...confirms that they took the robe, too. Thomas looks out at the crowd and notices Matt’s mother. Kira is sad when she notices that Matt isn’t standing beside her. The doors... (full context)
Chapter 20
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...human crawls forward, villagers turn to look at it, and Kira realizes that it is Matt. Kira is delighted to see him; he waves to her. Kira can see that he’s... (full context)
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...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 a long journey, and... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Matt explains how he found the blue cloth. After stealing food from his mother in preparation... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
When it is time for the Ruin Song to begin again, Kira and Thomas leave Matt and Branch in Thomas’s room and walk back to the hall. The Singer enters with... (full context)
Chapter 21
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
...seen, Kira is afraid and sad. Before she can explain to Thomas what she saw, Matt runs up to them and tells Kira that her big gift is here. Kira walks... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Kira’s notices that the man’s shirt is blue, and wonders where he came from. Matt shouts that he brought the stranger from “yonder,” and the stranger acknowledges this, calling Matt... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
...feel it getting dark. He had to rely upon his senses in this way when Matt led him through the forest. Kira asks him why he’s come to the village, but... (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, however, he tells... (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
...attached. Kira is surprised to hear this, since she knows of no one, other than Matt with Branch, who has nursed and comforted a wounded being back to health. (full context)
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
...and Kira realizes that he’s describing the same community of wounded and deformed people that Matt had tried to describe earlier. Christopher says that while his community used to consist entirely... (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... (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
...not miss 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.... (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,... (full context)
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
As Christopher prepares to leave with Matt, he tells Kira that she will come to his community later, and adds that Matt... (full context)
Art and Creative Instinct Theme Icon
Self-Interest versus Compassion  Theme Icon
Power and Freedom Theme Icon
Pain and Maturity Theme Icon
...he unraveled his blue shirt (the shirt he’s wearing at that moment is one that Matt stole for him). Now, he concludes, Kira will have blue threads to weave with. Kira... (full context)