Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

by

Becky Albertalli

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Simon feels as though he absolutely has to meet Blue in person. He tries to tell himself that Blue lives in his computer, but Simon feels actually a bit in love with him. At rehearsal, Simon stares at Cal, hoping for a clue. Cal pulls out a book that disappointingly turns out to be Fahrenheit 451. Simon wonders what a person looks like when their walls are coming down. Simon isn't the only one having trouble focusing; everyone is worked up over something posted on creeksecrets. Ms. Albright lets rehearsal out early because of this.
Simon's sense of being in love with Blue speaks to the power of truly getting to know someone and sharing intimate details of one's life with them. The mention of creeksecrets and the students being worked up over it reminds the reader that while email has the power to bring Simon and Blue together, other parts of the internet are somewhat more malicious.
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Simon grabs his dog Bieber and walks to Nick's house. He runs into Leah just pulling into Nick's driveway, and Leah and Simon head into the basement. Nick and Leah embark on a discussion of Doctor Who while Simon lies on the floor, lost in thought about Blue. Simon thinks he has no idea how to tell Nick and Leah he's gay, as he fears they won't recognize him afterwards. Martin texts about going to Waffle House again, which Simon ignores, and he thinks he hates feeling distant from Nick and Leah—even if they never talk about crushes anyway.
Simon's musings here indicate clearly that even if he's said that his relationships with Nick and Leah don't need anything more to be valid, their friendships could benefit from a bit of vulnerability and having some of the tough conversations hiding under the surface. Not having those conversations makes Simon feel distant and alone, even with people he considers his closest friends.
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Simon spends the first Saturday of Christmas break at school for an all-day rehearsal. He feels far away as he eats donuts and drinks coffee with the cast, all in pajamas. He mulls over the fact that he didn't take any of his chances to tell Nick and Leah that he's gay this past week, and tries to not think about how flirtatious Blue is. Martin walks onstage in a nightgown and curlers, and Ms. Albright calls the group to order. She explains the plan for the day and then gives everyone a few minutes before they start.
Again, the fact that Simon is dwelling on his choices to not come out to Nick and Leah makes it extremely clear that this is something that will need to happen for Simon to feel secure in his relationships with them again. Because Simon now recognizes this, it represents a turning point in his development; his correspondence with Blue has shown him that being vulnerable with other people is positive and necessary.
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Simon goes and sits down next to Cal, who is drawing in his binder. Cal comments on the Labradors on Simon's pajamas, which Simon tells the reader are clearly golden retrievers. However, Simon forgives this and asks Cal about his drawing. It's of a superhero, which makes Simon's heart clench given Blue's affinity for superheroes. Simon looks up to see Abby looking at him knowingly, so he gives her the stink eye.
Simon's emotions here ignore the fact that plenty of people like superheroes—he is quick to assume that Cal must be Blue just because of this connection. Though he's making progress in his journey to learn how to connect with people, Simon’s assumptions here suggest that he's perfectly willing still to make Cal's identity match Blue's, even without more compelling evidence.
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Ms. Albright sends a group to the music room with Cal to practice some of the songs. The students goof off and Taylor throws away a mysterious set list of classic rock songs, which Simon thinks fits right in with Taylor's personality. Cal plays the piano accompaniments of the songs, which they run through once, and then there's an hour before they need to return to the auditorium. They sing Disney songs and then have races pushing each other in rolling chairs down the hallway. Cal pushes Simon in one race and after, instead of giving Simon a high five, he laces his fingers through Simon's for a moment.
There's very clear sexual tension between Simon and Cal, which at this point is mostly giving Simon practice being truly himself in a real-life setting, not just over email. Because of this, it doesn't matter as much whether Cal is actually Blue—Simon is still learning important things about how to show affection in person and how embrace his sexuality in public.
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Abby and Taylor have a go on the chairs, and when they're done, Abby collapses into Simon. They sit on the floor, arms around each other, and watch the freshmen race. When the group finally heads back to the auditorium, Simon notices that both Cal and Martin have been watching him. Martin angrily pulls Simon aside and accuses Simon of trying to humiliate him. Martin doesn't agree that what he's doing is blackmail, but insists the whole thing is over—Abby rejected Martin right before she snuggled with Simon. Martin storms out, leaving Simon confused.
While the reader (as well as Simon and Abby) are well aware that Simon and Abby's relationship is purely platonic, the fact that Martin takes offense to their physical affection after being rejected illustrates how his emotions color the assumptions he makes about people. Martin's insistence that he's not blackmailing Simon shows that he hasn't yet realized how much power he has over Simon.
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