Scythe

by

Neal Shusterman

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Scythe can help.

Scythe: Chapter 31 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Scythe Curie writes that in addition to the ten formal laws of the Scythedom, there are several accepted conventions, including that a scythe can't glean a person who wants to be gleaned. Nobody in the post-mortal age knows what it's like to want to truly die, as the pain and suffering that drove people to that point no longer exist. Once, a woman came to Curie and asked to be gleaned, insisting she was done with life. Curie refused and ran into her ten years later, happy, remarried, and pregnant. The woman thanked Curie for letting her live. Curie still feels uneasy about it.
Curie likely feels uneasy about running into this woman later because she, as far as the reader could tell, seems to have exhibited every sign of being "stagnant"—yet Curie couldn't glean her exactly because this woman thought herself to be stagnant. This might flag for Curie that the conventions of the Scythedom should be revisited, as there's nothing from stopping people from impersonating a scythe and then dying horrifically.
Themes
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Citra is alive again on Thursday morning. As she comes to, she hears a nurse say that Citra needs a few more hours before it's safe to be conscious, but Curie sends the nurse away. Curie tells Citra that Scythe Mandela told her about the accusation. Citra notices that there's snow outside, and Curie explains that they're in the Chileargentine Region—the Thunderhead moved Citra away from Xenocrates. Curie says it's time to go so that Xenocrates can't find her, and helps her into a car. As Citra falls asleep, she says that the Thunderhead spoke to her and told her the name of the person who killed Faraday.
Curie's willingness to help Citra reveals that she's more than willing to stand up to Xenocrates and Goddard in order to do the right thing. This sets an example for Citra of how, when a person becomes a member of the Scythedom, they can then go on to push back on the people in power and thwart their plans. This essentially offers a combined tack, in which Curie works both from within and from the outside.
Themes
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Citra wakes up in a cabin and minutes later, Curie comes in with soup. She explains that it's her grandmother's recipe, and can purportedly heal a cold. Citra eats and then tells Curie about the journal entry that Xenocrates showed her. Curie sighs and says that the journal entry was about her, not Citra. She explains that Faraday took her on as an apprentice when they were both young, 50 years after humans achieved immortality. They both wanted to make the world a better place, as people still distrusted the Thunderhead and wanted to oppress others.
Again, by letting Citra in on Curie's own process of coming of age, she's able to encourage Citra to avoid making some of the same mistakes and jump instead to the parts and places where Curie—and in the future, Citra—will be able to make a meaningful difference. Curie also implies with her tone that while she and Faraday were idealistic, they weren't exactly successful in changing the world.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Curie admits that she was madly in love with Faraday and several times, she went into his room at night, planning to get in bed with him. He thought she meant to kill him. Curie confessed her love, he let her down easy, and they ignored each other for 50 years. Then, they became lovers and he showed her the journal entry. They were together for seven years until the High Blade found out. After 70 years of punishment, they became friends. Citra asks if Xenocrates truly thought the journal entry was about her, and Curie says he probably knows it wasn't—he just wants Rowan to become a scythe.
Curie's story makes it abundantly clear that becoming a scythe doesn't rob a person of all their normal human emotions, as Citra and Rowan might have thought. Instead, it just makes it harder and more dangerous to act on them. The understanding that Xenocrates is aligned with Goddard allows Curie to more effectively pick apart the political alliances set up to make Citra fail.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Get the entire Scythe LitChart as a printable PDF.
Scythe PDF
A Chileargentine scythe enters the room, speaks to Curie in Spanic, and leaves. Curie tells Citra that the local scythes are on their way to get her, so Citra will need to continue running alone. Curie is going to go home and tell the truth about the journal entry, while Citra will impersonate a Tonist and head north. Curie gives Citra an address, tells her that she'll find the final part of her training there, and then gives her instructions on how and where to go. Citra races away, finds a publicar, and opens the note. It says that when Citra arrives, she'll know what to do. Citra knows that she'll find Gerald Van Der Gans there.
Giving Citra this journey—which she seems to think is about her getting revenge for Faraday’s death—is a way for Curie to orchestrate a coming-of-age experience for Citra. It puts Citra in control of her own trajectory for a short time and allows her to practice her skills in the real world and with a real target. It also gives her the practice of evading the Scythedom so she has the experience and is less likely to try it again when she's ordained.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Scythe San Martín draws his pistol and bangs on the door. Curie opens the door, shocking San Martín. He says he's here for Citra and pushes into the cabin. San Martín finds footprints out the back and sends his apprentice down the hill while he tries to leave out the front. Curie blows up the cars.
Curie's fearlessness in thwarting San Martín speaks to her trust of the way the Scythedom works—she trusts that Xenocrates isn't going to try to discredit or punish her, which explains why she wants Citra to become a scythe and work to fight from within.
Themes
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon