On Friday, Titus drives Violet to the party. On the ride, Violet talks about what she has been reading about the natural world.
Violet continues to be fascinated with the natural world, perhaps because it represents a place where materialism hasn’t yet sunk in.
At the party, people shuffle around “with no music on the floor,” but they broadcast music into their feeds. Quendy’s entire body is covered in lesions, which Violet finds horrifying. Violet chats Titus that “the only thing worse than the thought it may all come tumbling down is the thought that we may go on like this forever.”
Titus takes Violet to the attic of the house and explains that he and his friends used to play here with Link. They would play a game in which everyone had to hide in the same place until, eventually, there would be only one person left who hadn’t found the hiding place. Titus liked this game because, even if you were the last person, you knew that “more people were thinking about you than ever before.” Violet finds some paintings of Link’s ancestors, all of whom have old-timey names like “Ezekiel” and “Hope.” Hope is a “fat old woman with a little dog.”
Link’s game is a poignant metaphor for Titus’s society, but also for what makes Titus different from his friends. While kids in the 21st century play hide-and-seek (a game that arguably encourages independence), the children in this book play a variant that stresses togetherness and exclusion. What makes Titus different is that he finds something positive and even poetic in the experience of being alone.