Messenger

Messenger Chapter Two Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The next day, Ramon and Matty take their fishing rods to fish and Ramon explains what happened last night: Gatherer died in Forest. Ramon's tone is self-important, and Matty privately thinks that Ramon's true name might be Boaster. Last night, when Matty got home to Seer, Seer told Matty that someone had died. Seer was able to listen and figure out how many people were singing at the keening, and he'd heard Ramon among them. Now, Matty asks Ramon if he got to keen. Ramon says he wanted to see the “entangled” body and was allowed to join. Matty asks what the entangled body looked like, and Ramon says that Gatherer had been strangled and then had twigs growing under his eyelids and wrapping around his tongue.
The violence of Forest's attack on Gatherer encourages the reader to see the conflict between Village and Forest as one between man and nature, in which nature is sentient and is out to destroy humans. When considered in terms of what Forest truly is (a reflection of the ills in Village), Gatherer's death suggests that innocent people will suffer and die in ways that appear to make little sense when individualism and selfishness rule instead of a sense of responsibility to the common good.
Themes
Selfishness vs. the Collective Good Theme Icon
Humans and Nature Theme Icon
Matty shudders and says that Gatherer was nice, and the boys remember how Gatherer used to throw berries to them. Ramon says that Gatherer went into Forest to tell his wife's family about their new baby. Matty asks if Gatherer had had "Warnings," but Ramon says with a cough that he hadn't. Matty thinks that Gatherer must have missed a Warning, as the early ones are sometimes very small. He vows that if he ever receives a Warning, he'll never go back into Forest again. He remembers how Seer received a Warning years ago, when Matty led him to Village. Ramon declares that he's never going into Forest, and brushes it off when Matty points out that Ramon has no reason to enter Forest—only those who have other places to go back to enter Forest and get entangled.
Matty's musing as to whether or not Gatherer missed a “Warning” suggests that Matty believes on some level that Gatherer should have seen this coming. At this point, Matty doesn't know what he's dealing with in Forest and doesn't see it as a reflection of the worst parts of human nature. Viewing it the way he does (as a sentient and dangerous being, separate from humanity) allows him to create some distance and believe that nothing he does could fix the situation with Forest.
Themes
Humans and Nature Theme Icon
Because Ramon is tired, he and Matty settle themselves on a boulder to fish. Annoyed and a little jealous when Ramon brings up the Gaming Machine again, Matty thinks that maybe Ramon's true name will be Gloater or Bragger. The narrator explains that in Village, life proceeds as usual. Mentor teaches, while Jean sells flowers and bread. Seer walks through Village checking on everyone, and a tall young man called Leader watches everyone in Village. He arrived as a boy and now, the sled he arrived on is in a glass case in the Museum.
Even though the novel overwhelmingly shows that kindness and a sense of responsibility are natural states of existence for all people, jealousy is as well. What matters most, the novel implies, is what a person chooses to do with their jealousy or other negative emotions. Leader is implied to be Jonas, the protagonist of The Giver.
Themes
Youth, Memory, and the Future Theme Icon
The Museum is filled with other "relics of arrival," as everyone who came from outside Village has a story about how they arrived. Unlike other people, Leader has never tried to go back to his old settlement, as Village is now his home. With gratitude, he watches everyone, wishes Gatherer's body peace, and looks to Forest. He can see beyond the shadows, and what he sees makes him uneasy. He can't tell whether it's good or bad. In Forest, a frog hops through the underbrush with an oddly stiff back leg.
Leader's sense of gratitude when he looks out on Village marks him as a kind person who truly embodies the ideals of the community. His ability to see something strange and bad in Forest is the first real indication that there's more to Forest than meets the eye; this foreshadows the negative things to come and encourages the reader to look to Forest for explanations.
Themes
Selfishness vs. the Collective Good Theme Icon
Youth, Memory, and the Future Theme Icon
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