Scythe

Scythe Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Scythe Curie writes that she's never taken an apprentice, as she doesn't want to subject someone else to the scythes' way of life. She wonders what motivates other scythes, whether it's vanity, the fact that scythes can't have children, or to make sure that there's a scythe capable of replacing a mentor scythe when they self-glean. Curie suspects that if she takes an apprentice, it will be for other reasons.
This entry was clearly written long before the novel's present, but it still shows that Curie feels like her responsibility is to support the Scythedom, not just serve herself by taking an apprentice as a surrogate child. With this, she implies that taking on Citra is something she's doing for the greater good, not her own desires.
Themes
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Scythe Curie takes Citra to her home near the eastern edge of MidMerica. The house is called Falling Water. It was designed by a mortal age architect, bridges a river, and was in disrepair before she raised the money to restore it. Citra tries to not be impressed and asks if scythes aren't supposed to live simple lives. Curie points out that living here means the house can be preserved. She leads Citra to a bedroom on the third floor with a view of the forest. Citra asks why Curie took her on, since it's clear Curie doesn't like her. Curie says she has her reasons and leaves.
While Citra has a point, Curie's insistence that her presence is the only thing preserving the house resituates scythes as the keepers of Age of Mortality arts and culture. She implies that nobody else would be willing to preserve the house, either for the enjoyment of it or for the sake of preserving humanity's history. Because of her relationship to death, then, Curie shows that she's far more connected to the mortal age.
Themes
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Citra wakes up hours later when Curie flips on the light in her room. Curie asks if Citra forgot about dinner and then lets Citra lead the way back down to the first floor through the maze-like hallways. Citra is prepared to cook as she did for Scythe Faraday, so she's surprised to find the table set with two plates of steaming food. Suspecting a trap, Citra asks why Curie cooked for her. Curie says that cooking is her hobby, and Citra is here and hungry. Citra wonders if Faraday had a secret hobby and thinks briefly of Rowan.
Citra's lack of trust of Curie is understandable, given the trauma and turmoil she's been through in the last 24 hours. However, it also suggests that Citra is fundamentally suspicious of the Scythedom as a whole, which indicates that the Scythedom isn't doing a good job of making itself look impartial and welcoming to new scythes. Instead, it looks corrupt and untrustworthy.
Themes
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
After blueberry pancakes the next morning, Curie and Citra go out gleaning. Curie drives an antique Porsche and explains that it was a gift from an antique car dealer whose father she gleaned. Citra is confused, especially when Curie says that the dealer appreciated the solace she provided after the gleaning. They drive to a small town and walk leisurely down the street, which makes Citra uncomfortable. Curie asks Citra to look around for someone who looks "ready to conclude" and "stagnant." Citra is irritated, but follows Curie as she starts to tail one tall man who she insists seems tired. Curie taps the man on the shoulder and as he turns, stabs him in the heart.
Curie's parameters for choosing gleaning victims suggests that she's trying to mimic the Age of Mortality in such a way as to give people a sudden end when they seem done living—which, the novel might suggest, doesn't necessarily happen when a mortal person reaches what would be considered old age. This may give some people freedom, though Curie's meditations on stagnation and boredom suggest that she doesn't see immortality as a great thing for these reasons.
Themes
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
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Citra shouts that Curie didn't give the man warning, and Curie angrily orders Citra to lie flat on the ground and apologize to her. Curie strides away, Citra in tow, and once they're back in the car, she calmly asks Citra to track down the man's family and invite them to her home. Confused, Citra asks if Curie is upset with her. Curie explains she disciplined Citra like that because she has to uphold an image, but she's merely annoyed. Citra understands and tracks down the man's current wife and three young children.
Remember that Curie is one of the most famous scythes; this means that she must perform for the public, and that means punishing Citra loudly and openly. When Citra is able to accept and understand this, it again shows the reader that she's beginning to come of age and realize that her own comfort is less important than upholding the ideals and the traditions of the Scythedom.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
The family arrives at Curie's home that evening. Curie grants them immunity immediately and then she and Citra serve dinner. Curie asks the man's wife to tell her about her husband, and soon, the wife and the children are going on about the man as Curie listens. She then offers the woman a knife and offers to let the woman kill her with no consequences. The woman refuses. Later, Curie and Citra wash dishes and Curie says that when Citra is a scythe, she'll do things her own way. Citra asks why Curie took her on. Curie says that Scythe Goddard offered to take both Citra and Rowan, but she couldn't bear the thought of him pitting them against each other every day.
Curie shows here that while Faraday chooses to show the families of those he gleans respect by attending funerals, she feels it's more important to get to know them on a personal level and share intimately in their grief. When she suggests that all scythes do things differently, it opens up the possibility that there are a variety of ways for a scythe to show their victims and the families that they care and mourn their loss, even when it's necessary.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Citra understands, but thinks Curie's offer didn't do much good—she or Rowan will still have to glean the other. Citra then asks why Curie gleaned the man without warning. Curie explains that in the Age of Mortality, death came suddenly. She believes it's her job to kill quickly and in public, to remind people of what scythes do and why they have to do it. Citra asks how Curie got to this point after her noble youth, in which she gleaned the president and corrupt businessmen, but Curie refuses to answer.
The revelation that Curie gleaned the president suggests that while a person may only come of age once, a person is able to continue gaining wisdom as they get older—she's presumably decided to take Faraday's insistence to heart that anonymity is important.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
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