Scythe

by

Neal Shusterman

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Scythe: Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Scythe Curie lists the Scythe Commandments. They are to kill without bias or malice; to give the families of those gleaned immunity for a year; to kill the families of people who resist gleaning; to serve as a scythe for one's whole life; to live a moral life and record things in a journal; to not kill scythes other than oneself; to have no possessions aside from robes, the scythe's ring, and the journal; to not marry or reproduce; and to follow no other laws. Curie writes that she takes one day per year to meditate on the commandments. She's often horrified by how malleable the laws are, and she wishes she could speak to some of the scythes who helped develop the rules. She wonders why they came up with the last one, as it seems a recipe for disaster to put oneself above other laws.
Scythe Curie has a point when she notes that being above the law makes it very easy to abuse one's power. With this, Curie recognizes that the element of human nature that desires power is the one capable of destroying the Scythedom, no matter the good intentions represented by the laws. Her comment that the laws are "malleable" and her implication that horrible things have already happened reinforces that this is the Scythedom's one weak spot, and signals to the reader to be on the lookout for abuses of power to find the villains.
Themes
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
A businessman sits in his favorite seat, 15C, ready for his flight to finish boarding. He makes small talk with the woman next to him until, five minutes before takeoff, a scythe (Scythe Goddard) enters the plane. He's wearing robes that are royal blue with diamonds and is accompanied by three other scythes, all with bejeweled robes. Goddard addresses the plane: he's going to glean everyone on it. Thinking quickly, the businessman races to the back of the plane and opens the door, ready to jump. Goddard says that he'll kill the families of everyone who jumps.
Goddard and his crew represent a method of gleaning that differs significantly from Faraday's. Note that by gleaning a bunch of people at once, Goddard inspires far more terror than Faraday does, something that Faraday might suggest makes Goddard a less moral and less compassionate scythe.
Themes
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
The businessman stays in the plane and approaches Goddard when Goddard calls him. The scythe in orange has a flamethrower out, but Goddard tells him to put it away. He then asks the businessman to choose the order in which everyone will be gleaned. The businessman sees that Goddard is enjoying this, and he understands this will be a bloodbath. He refuses and tells the other passengers to kill themselves before the scythes do. Goddard draws a blade and the businessman throws himself on it.
Goddard's enjoyment of toying with his victims suggests that he's drunk on the power he wields as a scythe and wants the general populace to worship him and treat him more like a god. The businessman's suicide, in effect, allows the businessman to feel less complicit in what scythes must do and turns him into a heroic victim, not a death necessary for the good of the rest of humanity.
Themes
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon