Scythe

by

Neal Shusterman

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Scythe: Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Scythe Curie writes in her journal that she believes people still fear death, just not as much as they used to—today, the chance of being gleaned is miniscule. Nobody counts their age anymore, except for children. The oldest living person is around 300 years old, and Curie wonders how things will change in 1,000 years. She wonders if they'll all be skilled in lots of things, or if they'll all be bored.
As far as Curie is concerned, immortality leads to boredom—more evidence that immortality makes life inherently less worth living. Her suggestion that people don't fear death as much also seems misguided, given how terrified Citra's family and Rowan's entire school were to see Faraday.
Themes
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Citra and Rowan join the other six apprentices in lining up in front of the assembly. Curie steps forward to examine the apprentices with one question each. The first boy fails his question, which asks what he should do if a woman throws herself on his blade while he's trying to glean her child. The second apprentice passes her question about what to do in a poisoning gone wrong, and the third successfully lists five specific poisons. Curie then asks Citra for the worst thing she ever did. Citra lies and says she pushed a classmate down the stairs when she was eight. Curie somehow knows she's lying, fails her, and sends her to Faraday.
Curie appears to be trying to test the apprentices' senses or morality and compassion, as well as get a sense for the kind of people they are. It's unclear why Citra lies here. Though she has no way to know whether or not Curie would see through the lie, there appears to be little incentive to not tell the truth, especially now that she's decided that she'd like to receive the scythehood. It's possible that Citra feels too unspeakably guilty about what she did to admit it, which would suggest that she has good character.
Themes
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Curie then asks Rowan what he fears most. Rowan nonchalantly insists he's not afraid of anything, which Curie deems unacceptable. Citra wants to hit Rowan, as she knows he's doing this to make her feel better. Faraday says with surprising intensity that Rowan shouldn't have done that—his "nobility" could be used against him later. After Curie finishes with the apprentices, the focus of the Scythedom slips. At the end of the day, one of Goddard's group, Scythe Rand, stands and says she takes issue with Faraday's two apprentices. She suggests that there needs to be a real element of competition and proposes that the winning apprentice glean the loser. Faraday tries to protest, but Xenocrates allows the motion to pass.
Faraday shows here that anything anyone says can be used in a political way. This suggests that not even he trusts the Scythedom entirely, and he recognizes the importance of playing the game in order to keep oneself safe and in power. Xenocrates's unwillingness to shut down Scythe Rand's suggestion tells Faraday that Xenocrates and Goddard are somehow in cahoots—and that both of them are in direct opposition with Faraday in particular.
Themes
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon