Scythe

by

Neal Shusterman

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Scythe Faraday / Gerald Van Der Gans Character Analysis

Scythe Faraday, born Gerald Van Der Gans, is an older scythe who, after gleaning Citra's neighbor and a student at Rowan's school, decides to take both teens on as his apprentices. Though Citra and Rowan detest Faraday at first, they soon discover that he's extremely fair, logical, and compassionate. He makes sure that, in addition to learning "killcraft," his apprentices develop their moral compasses, understand the importance of the scythes' job, and never enjoy killing—something that he suggests will rob them of their humanity. Faraday believes that his gleaning victims should be chosen using statistics from accidental deaths from the Age of Mortality, and he also believes that each person he gleans should die in a unique way because all people are unique. This, he suggests, is the best way to honor his victims, though he also makes a point to go to every funeral as a show of respect. An extremely loyal and caring mentor, Faraday self-gleans—or so he leads people to believe—after the Scythedom decides to pass a motion dictating that whichever of Faraday's apprentices doesn't become a scythe, he or she will have to glean the other. This, in theory, frees Citra and Rowan from their apprenticeship, though they’re quickly snatched up by new mentors, thus keeping them in competition with one another. Faraday is distraught when, after Citra discovers him in hiding and retirement in Amazonia, he learns that his plan failed. He resumes Citra's training while she's also in hiding and focuses most on developing her compassion and morality. Citra also learns during this time that Scythe Curie was Faraday's apprentice and, 50 years after she was ordained, the two became lovers and are now good friends. Faraday later comes to the rescue and whisks Rowan away after Citra earns the scythe's ring and refuses to glean him.

Scythe Faraday / Gerald Van Der Gans Quotes in Scythe

The Scythe quotes below are all either spoken by Scythe Faraday / Gerald Van Der Gans or refer to Scythe Faraday / Gerald Van Der Gans. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Coming of Age Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Scythe published in 2017.
Chapter 1 Quotes

The growth of civilization was complete. Everyone knew it. When it came to the human race, there was no more left to learn. Nothing about our own existence to decipher. Which meant that no one person was more important than any other. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, everyone was equally useless.

Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

Suddenly Kohl thrust his hand out, grabbing Rowan's and holding it tightly. Rowan allowed it. He wasn't family; he wasn't even Kohl's friend before today—but what was the saying? Death makes the whole world kin. Rowan wondered if a world without death would then make everyone strangers.

Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

She assumed she would go to college, get a degree in something pleasant, then settle into a comfortable job, meet a comfortable guy, and have a nice, unremarkable life. It's not that she longed for such an existence, but it was expected. Not just of her, but of everyone. With nothing to really aspire to, life had become about maintenance.

Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

The idea that not all scythes were good was something neither Rowan or Citra had ever considered. It was widely accepted that scythes adhered to the highest moral and ethical standards. They were wise in their dealings and fair in their choices. Even the ones who sought celebrity were seen to deserve it. The idea that some scythes might not be as honorable as Scythe Faraday did not sit well with either of his new apprentices.

Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

"But people could read it. The Scythe Archive is open to everyone."

"Yeah," said Rowan, "like the Thunderhead. People can read anything, but no one does. All they do is play games and watch cat holograms."

Related Symbols: Thunderhead
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

He clicked on each name and brought up four pictures. He immediately regretted it, because the moment those names had faces, they became people instead of parameters.

Related Symbols: Thunderhead
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

"Never lose your humanity," Scythe Faraday had told him, "or you'll be nothing more than a killing machine." He had used the word "killing" rather than "gleaning." Rowan hadn't thought much of it at the time, but now he understood; it stopped being gleaning the moment one became desensitized to the act.

Page Number: 239
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 29 Quotes

"But if this really is a scandal in the Scythedom—"

"—then your best possible position would be to achieve scythehood yourself, and fight it from the inside."

Page Number: 319
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 33 Quotes

With each gleaning I commit, with each life taken for the good of humanity, I mourn for the boy I once was, whose name I sometimes struggle to remember. And I long for a place beyond immortality where I can, in some small measure, resurrect the wonder, and be that boy again.

Related Characters: Scythe Faraday / Gerald Van Der Gans (speaker)
Page Number: 369
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 36 Quotes

My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There's no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that.

Related Characters: Scythe Faraday / Gerald Van Der Gans (speaker)
Page Number: 387
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Scythe LitChart as a printable PDF.
Scythe PDF

Scythe Faraday / Gerald Van Der Gans Character Timeline in Scythe

The timeline below shows where the character Scythe Faraday / Gerald Van Der Gans appears in Scythe. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...Citra is doing homework when her mom answers the door to find a scythe, Scythe Faraday, outside. Citra's mom is immediately terrified, and Citra is scared as well. Faraday steps inside... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Citra and Ben sit with Faraday in the living room and discuss the scientist Michael Faraday, who is Faraday's "Patron Historic"... (full context)
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Near the end of dinner, Faraday asks Citra's family to tell him about themselves. Citra's dad works in historical research, while... (full context)
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
After Faraday leaves, Citra's dad turns up the TV volume so they can't hear anything. An hour... (full context)
Chapter 2
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
The next morning, Rowan runs into Scythe Faraday at school. Rowan offers to walk with him to the office since he's going there... (full context)
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Faraday explains that he's going to kill Kohl by electrocuting him. Hearing this, Kohl grabs Rowan's... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Just before lunch, Marah Paulik, Kohl's girlfriend, slaps Rowan for letting Faraday kill him. Rowan tries to explain, but Marah won't listen. A crowd forms around them... (full context)
Chapter 3
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
...try to figure out who invited them. They have little in common, but when Scythe Faraday steps into the box, Citra is convinced he's going to glean them. Instead, he sits... (full context)
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...Rowan even asked to change schools. He was thrilled to get the opera invitation until Faraday showed up. After the opera, Faraday gives Rowan and Citra a card and tells him... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Faraday leads them through galleries of old masters' paintings and finally, Rowan asks why they're here.... (full context)
Chapter 4
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Citra thinks of what Scythe Faraday told her when he picked her up from her parents' house: that she basically has... (full context)
Chapter 5
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...immediately that shopping with a scythe is very different than shopping alone. Some people pretend Faraday doesn't exist, while others run away. Still others go out of their way to suck... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
That afternoon, Faraday, Citra, and Rowan go to the woman's office, and Faraday tells her that he's going... (full context)
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...the pill, she goes limp. Citra starts to cry and checks for a pulse when Faraday asks her to. Citra is shocked that the death was so uneventful and is even... (full context)
Chapter 7
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... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Faraday gives Rowan and Citra leather-bound journals to use as their apprentice journals. Rowan hates writing... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
About a month in, Faraday lets Citra attend her aunt's wedding, provided she wears simple clothes. Citra returns home early,... (full context)
Chapter 8
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
One morning, Faraday announces that he'll glean alone. He leads Citra to the weapons den to polish blades.... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Faraday then tasks Rowan with doing research for his next gleaning. Rowan almost lets the Thunderhead... (full context)
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
The next afternoon, Rowan's chosen man returns home to find Faraday in his living room. Rowan closes the front door, locking the panicking man in, and... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...how Rowan behaved, as he did most of the emotional work. She refuses to let Faraday take her to the hospital to have her bite healed, as she feels she owes... (full context)
Chapter 10
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Feeling rebellious, Rowan invites Tyger to come to Faraday's house since Faraday is gleaning in another city. Rowan briefly thinks he wants Tyger to... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
After three months, Citra has decided that she wants Faraday to choose her to be a scythe. She understands the importance of scythes and wants... (full context)
Chapter 11
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
In early May, Scythe Faraday takes only Citra with him to a gleaning of a young man with a wife... (full context)
Chapter 12
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
A week before Vernal Conclave in May, Scythe Faraday explains to Citra and Rowan what the conclave is. It exists because the Scythedom isn't... (full context)
Chapter 13
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...is held in the MidMerican city of Fulcrum City in a former Capitol Building. Scythe Faraday insists on taking a standard train the day before and at 6:30 in the morning,... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
In the rotunda, there's an elaborate breakfast spread. Faraday points out several notable scythes to Citra and Rowan, including Scythe Curie, who's known as... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...a college degree and laughs when they insult him. Citra insults the almost-scythes in return. Faraday steps in, reminds the young scythes that they can't demand respect yet, and sends them... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...business happens there as he overhears scythes making side deals, pushing agendas, and building alliances. Faraday doesn't join in on any of this. Rowan watches Goddard the most and has the... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Lunch is a lavish buffet and uncharacteristically, Faraday fills his plate. Curie approaches Rowan and Citra and tells them that for scythes who... (full context)
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Midway through the afternoon, Faraday speaks up for the first time to advocate for an oversight committee to tackle questions... (full context)
Chapter 14
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...when she was eight. Curie somehow knows she's lying, fails her, and sends her to Faraday. (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...wants to hit Rowan, as she knows he's doing this to make her feel better. Faraday says with surprising intensity that Rowan shouldn't have done that—his "nobility" could be used against... (full context)
Chapter 15
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...think this is about them, and he privately thinks this is an attack on Scythe Faraday by Scythe Goddard. Citra suggests they both fail, but Faraday assures her that they'll choose... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Breakfast is a silent affair. Faraday finally speaks and says he's going out alone, but for Rowan and Citra, nothing has... (full context)
Chapter 17
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...up after midnight to the sound of pounding on the front door. They see that Faraday is still gone, which is unusual but not concerning. Rowan suggests that Faraday forgot his... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
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...Rowan and Citra, but they can't decide if they can trust him. Xenocrates explains that Faraday threw himself in front of a train and says it makes perfect sense: self-gleaning by... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...floor through the maze-like hallways. Citra is prepared to cook as she did for Scythe Faraday, so she's surprised to find the table set with two plates of steaming food. Suspecting... (full context)
Chapter 19
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...once Rhonda was revived, but Citra holds onto things. She suggests that this is why Faraday chose her as an apprentice. Citra remarks that she's surprised the Thunderhead didn't see her... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...and listens, and acts on what it chooses to. Citra wonders if it saw Scythe Faraday die. She wonders if Faraday was murdered. (full context)
Chapter 20
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...were donated. He suggests that old-guard scythes take things too seriously. Rowan thinks that Scythe Faraday's seriousness is what made him agree to train as a scythe in the first place. (full context)
Chapter 22
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...a good metric to go by. Curie does explain that she never gleans children. Scythe Faraday seldom gleaned children, but the one he gleaned while Citra was with him shook him.... (full context)
Chapter 23
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...of the Thunderhead for anything that would help her piece together what happened on Scythe Faraday's last day. She misses Thunderhead's intrusions and offers of help, especially when she realizes that... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...out with her family is somewhat awkward; only Ben behaves normally. Citra leads them past Faraday's old house and makes a point of taking family photos from similar angles as every... (full context)
Chapter 24
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Rowan can feel himself growing numb. He remembers Scythe Faraday telling him to not “lose [his] humanity,” as losing that would turn him into a... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...his vow to let Citra win the scythehood, and he wonders if he'd be like Faraday or like Goddard. He wonders if it'd be a tragedy to enjoy gleaning. Volta is... (full context)
Chapter 26
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 27
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Citra can't wait to share what she's learned about Scythe Faraday with Rowan at Harvest Conclave. She keeps her investigation a secret from Curie and spends... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
...apprentices ask what Goddard is like and speak poorly of their own mentors. Rowan misses Faraday, who would've known what the other scythes are truly like. Citra butts in, flatly compliments... (full context)
Chapter 28
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
...this are how people are supposed to live. Rowan wonders if Goddard could've killed Scythe Faraday and thinks that as far as he knows, Goddard hasn't done anything illegal. On the... (full context)
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...Xenocrates jump into the pool. Rowan notes that people are saying that a scythe killed Faraday, which seems to offend Goddard. He insists that Faraday gleaned himself, and says that even... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Later, Volta and Rowan play pool and discuss the possibility that someone killed Faraday. Volta thinks that Citra is messing with Rowan. Rowan suggests that he start taking Esme... (full context)
Chapter 29
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In his journal, Rowan writes that he's apprenticed to a monster. He agrees with Scythe Faraday that nobody who loves killing should be a scythe, and he admits that he's afraid... (full context)
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...and Scythe Curie's first day back at Falling Water, Citra confesses that she's been researching Faraday's murder. Curie is shocked and disgusted with herself for not knowing what Citra was doing.... (full context)
Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...shocks her and she comes to in a car, handcuffed. They accuse her of murdering Faraday. Because Citra is a member of the Scythedom, her fate is in the hands of... (full context)
Mortality and Life Theme Icon
Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
Citra is shaken, especially when Mandela says that whoever killed Faraday used Faraday's ring to bribe witnesses with immunity. Mandela leaves. Xenocrates says that he's been... (full context)
Chapter 30
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Morality, Compassion, and Choices Theme Icon
...moans that this isn't fair and asks the Thunderhead to tell her what happened to Faraday. It refuses but says it can give her one clue: the name Gerald Van Der... (full context)
Chapter 31
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...the Thunderhead spoke to her and told her the name of the person who killed Faraday. (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...says that when Citra arrives, she'll know what to do. Citra knows that she'll find Gerald Van Der Gans there. (full context)
Chapter 32
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...She grabs the man and then drops him in shock when she sees that it's Faraday. (full context)
Chapter 33
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Scythe Faraday writes in his journal that immortality robs people of their innocence and youth. He says... (full context)
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Surveillance, Corruption, and Justice Theme Icon
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Citra carries Faraday inside and bandages his leg. He begins to wake and refuses to let her take... (full context)
Chapter 34
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...won't forget, but Curie suggests that there's more going on than they realize. They discuss Faraday, and Citra says he mostly gardens and walks on the beach. Curie sighs and says... (full context)
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During her time with Faraday, Citra thought a lot about the morals and ethics of being a scythe. She knows... (full context)
Chapter 36
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Scythe Faraday writes in his journal that he prays every day. He doesn't know who or what... (full context)
Chapter 39
Coming of Age Theme Icon
...she won't forgive herself if Citra loses. Citra assures her that between her and Scythe Faraday, she's well prepared. Smiling and tearing up, Curie invites Citra to stay on as her... (full context)
Chapter 40
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...Rowan leaps into the passenger side of the car and is shocked to see Scythe Faraday driving. (full context)