Scythe

by

Neal Shusterman

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Scythe: Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Scythe Curie writes that she used to wonder why she never saw scythes out and about in regular clothes. She knows now that scythes must remain separate from the rest of humanity. Being a scythe, unlike other uniformed professions, doesn't allow for downtime or an identity outside of being a scythe.
The idea that scythes must be separate from the rest of the population in all ways is another way that scythes must atone for the work they do. However, it can also be argued that depriving them of a sense of connection with the population could contribute to the environment that creates scythes like Goddard.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Scythe Faraday tells Rowan and Citra that over the next year, they'll learn how to glean using blades, firearms, poisons, and martial arts. The teens are a bit unsettled to discover that the garage of Faraday's house is his weapons den, containing all manner of weapons. In the mornings, Rowan and Citra learn Black Widow Bokator, a deadly martial art from Cambodia developed for scythes. They spend the other half of their days studying from books. When Faraday explains that scythes must average five gleanings per week to meet the quota, Rowan suggests that scythes get weekends off. Faraday very seriously says that good scythes don't get days off. The idea that there are bad scythes disturbs Rowan and Citra.
It's telling that Rowan and Citra are so disturbed to learn that there are bad scythes in the world, especially since neither of them thought highly of Faraday—a “good” scythe—when they were normal members of the public and first met him. This indicates that the general populace isn't well informed when it comes to scythes and how they function.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Citra finds that she never grows numb to gleaning. Faraday assures her that this is a good thing, as she needs compassion to be a scythe. Rowan and Citra learn that Faraday never repeats a gleaning method, as he believes that each person he gleans is an individual who deserves a unique end. Citra is uneasy about having to practice killing and hopes she'll fail to become a scythe. Rowan has mixed feelings; Faraday's insistence on being moral and ethical gives Rowan purpose, but he also feels like he's committing a crime.
Faraday's insistence on coming up with new gleaning methods that fit each person again shows that scythes have far more insight into the general populace than the population has into scythes, something that creates a major imbalance of power. This suggests that while the world of the novel might be cast as a utopia, it actually suffers from a lack of information and openness.
Themes
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Faraday gives Rowan and Citra leather-bound journals to use as their apprentice journals. Rowan hates writing in it, though he recognizes that he needs to take it seriously if he wants to be a scythe—all scythes' journals are available for the public to read. He watches Citra write one evening and can tell that she took penmanship in school, something that, at this point, is an elective. He wonders if he and Citra would've gotten along in school and tries to figure out how he actually feels about her.
It's possible to read Citra's interest in penmanship as another indicator that she's the sort of person who would make a good scythe, as it would suggest that she's more interested in the mortal world and habits from the Age of Mortality that the scythes seek to replicate by gleaning.
Themes
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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About a month in, Faraday lets Citra attend her aunt's wedding, provided she wears simple clothes. Citra returns home early, as only one cousin even tried to speak with her. Talking to her parents was awkward, and most guests avoided her. She wonders if this is why Faraday allowed her to attend at all.
As Citra comes of age and becomes more entrenched in the Scythedom, she naturally starts to move away from her family. This reminds her that per the Scythedom's rules, blood family is less important than a scythe's job.
Themes
Coming of Age Theme Icon