Scythe

by

Neal Shusterman

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Scythe: Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Scythe Curie writes that she just had her cultural audit, which returns the ethnic breakdown of the people she gleaned. Her ratios are within the accepted range, but she wonders if the cultural index is actually effective at freeing the world from bias.
Here, by questioning the effectiveness of something seemingly utopian like the cultural audit, Curie offers the possibility that the utopia of the novel is actually flawed and possibly, a true dystopia.
Themes
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Citra thinks of what Scythe Faraday told her when he picked her up from her parents' house: that she basically has a learner's permit to glean; that she must become incorruptibly moral; that she and Rowan cannot entertain any thoughts of romance; that she must study history, philosophy, science, and killcraft. She accepts her green armband that marks her as an apprentice and tells herself that she can just fail to perform. Rowan is similarly unsettled that he chose to follow through with this. He's shocked to see that Faraday lives in a sparsely furnished home in a rundown part of town—a conscious choice, as nobody is poor now.
It's important that Faraday makes sure that his apprentices learn history, philosophy, and science. This indicates that at least as far as he's concerned, in order to be a good scythe, a person must have a firm education in a variety of subjects. Faraday's choice to live in such a small house also shows that despite the economic parity among all people, there's still a sense that living with less is morally superior to using one's wealth to purchase as much as possible.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Soon after Rowan and Citra unpack their things, Faraday calls them to accompany him to the supermarket. Rowan is distraught, thinking they'll glean there, but Faraday says they just need food. Citra smirks at Rowan, but then admits with a sigh that they're not really in a position to be friends. Rowan suggests that they can still look out for each other, and he hopes she'll take his suggestion to heart.
While in theory, whoever wins the scythehood will formally come of age as part of a community in the Scythedom, the process of coming of age for Citra and Rowan is one that's isolating from peers. They have little incentive to truly connect to each other, given the competition between them.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon