Scythe

by

Neal Shusterman

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Scythe: Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The first World Supreme Blade, Scythe Prometheus, writes that scythes are wise, but not all-seeing. He says that human nature is still a strange thing, and he can only hope that the scythes' laws will help curb its worst impulses. He hopes that the Thunderhead will help them if they ever need it.
At this point, it appears that the scattered hopes that the Thunderhead will step in at some point are hoping that the Thunderhead is a different entity than what it actually is, given that it's impossible to know if it has a conscience or not.
Themes
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Scythe Goddard serves his scythes a feast that night. He, Chomsky, and Rand seem thrilled with their day's work, but Rowan and Volta are disturbed. Esme whispers to Rowan that Volta is always cranky after a gleaning. Midway through the meal, Goddard learns that they gleaned 263 people—they're now ahead of their quota. Goddard is annoyed and grouses that the quota keeps them from gleaning like this daily. Volta notes that the families of the gleaned will arrive tomorrow, and Rand sighs that she hates them. Rowan excuses himself to play cards with Esme. She suggests that they ask the servants to play with them, but notes that none of them like her or Goddard, since Goddard stole their house.
The simple fact that Goddard wants to glean like this daily is disturbing and offers more evidence for why Goddard isn't a scythe because he believes in the mission. Instead, he's a scythe because he wants to be powerful and is more than willing to abuse a system that isn't set up to check people like him. Rand's inability to empathize with the bereaved suggests that, like Goddard, she sees herself as a god deserving of worship and not as someone who serves the populace.
Themes
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Rowan understands now that Esme is a prisoner here too. He asks her if Goddard ever really talks to her, and if she knows why he granted her immunity. Esme is silent for a minute and then says that Goddard hasn't given her immunity. As Rowan heads for his bedroom, he hears crying coming from Volta's room. He lets himself in and Volta is immediately furious. Volta throws things at Rowan, but Rowan sits down. He says that he knows Volta isn't like the others. Volta says that Goddard is the future, and he doesn't want to be a part of the past. He also says that Rowan won't be able to escape this either.
The way that Volta justifies following Goddard suggests that Citra may be right to suspect that Faraday was murdered: he implies that it's unsafe and bad to be a member of the old guard, which Faraday was a part of. Choosing a side like this means that Volta likely prioritizes his own wellbeing over the wellbeing of the people he's supposed to serve, and is willing to sacrifice kindness and compassion to do so.
Themes
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Rowan says that he knows Volta only pretends to like mass gleanings. Volta slams Rowan against a wall and accuses him of blackmailing him, but Rowan says he doesn't want anything. Volta lets Rowan down and apologizes. He says that after being around Goddard, it's easy to think that everyone schemes. He says too that Goddard sees Rowan as a challenge, as if he can make one of Scythe Faraday's apprentices agree with him, he can make anyone agree. Rowan realizes that Volta isn't much older than he is, and wonders how Volta ended up with Goddard in the first place. He can see how Goddard's charisma is attractive.
What Rowan actually wants is a friend and a confidant, which Volta shows every sign of possibly being. His honesty with Rowan betrays how uneasy he feels about his position in Goddard's inner circle. It also allows Rowan to clearly trace how someone like Volta—or like Rowan—could be taken in by someone like Goddard, which will later give Rowan more information to use when he chooses whether or not to follow Goddard himself.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
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Rowan whispers that he thinks Goddard is a killer, not a scythe, and killing like Goddard does is wrong. Volta says that the old scythes are rolling in their graves over Goddard, but there's nothing to do but join Goddard. It makes life easier. Rowan thinks that he knows now how easy it'd be to become a monster like Goddard.
The way that Rowan sees it, Goddard is right: killing is something natural that must be overridden by learning to be compassionate, and with the right environment, it's easy to learn to rely on that monstrous part of him than it is to choose to be kind and moral.
Themes
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon