Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

by

Becky Albertalli

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda can help.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: Chapter 23 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Simon considers just sitting in the car all day on his first day back at school after the break. Nora is finally able to talk Simon into going in. He starts to relax when he doesn't find homophobic notes in his locker, though he feels a sense of dread at the thought of seeing Martin. As Simon is walking up the stairs, a football player grabs Simon's cheeks and makes kissing noises. Everyone around laughs. Simon knows none of the people laughing. In English class, Martin refuses to look Simon's direction.
The football player's bullying reveals that Martin was very wrong about being gay not being a big deal at their school—clearly, there are others who think it's absolutely a big deal and something to make fun of. This shows how even though Martin did have control over when and how Simon came out, Martin has no control over what others do with that information.
Themes
Agency and Control Theme Icon
Identity and Assumptions Theme Icon
Abby and Leah shoot dirty looks at anyone who looks at Simon funny throughout the day. At lunch, the girls discuss who Simon should date, though things devolve quickly when someone jokes that Nick is gay, and Abby suggests they find Leah a boyfriend. Leah icily says she's not interested and leaves the table, which makes Bram and Garrett exchange a look. Simon tells Bram to ask Leah out if he likes her and thinks he's tired of straight people who won't deal with things.
The conversation at lunch suggests that the girls (who aren't named) see Simon's sexuality as something of a novelty, while their desire to find him a boyfriend assumes that he even wants to date. Essentially, everyone at the table is making assumptions (Simon doesn't give any reason why he calls Bram out instead of Garrett), which suggests that doing so is something that all people do.
Themes
Identity and Assumptions Theme Icon
Things seem okay at rehearsal until Martin suddenly stops singing. Simon follows Martin's gaze to the back of the auditorium, where two boys, one dressed like Simon in a skirt, are both holding signs making fun of Simon and gay sex. Simon feels as though he's watching from far away as Taylor and Abby race towards the boys, with Ms. Albright close behind them. Simon notices that Martin is covering his face. After a few minutes, Abby, Ms. Albright, and Taylor return. Taylor looks like she's been crying, and Abby tells Simon that Taylor was just about to punch the bullies. Simon is concerned that Taylor will get in trouble. Ms. Albright tells the cast that she's taking this incident seriously, and tells Simon that she'll get "those assholes" suspended.
Again, Martin has entirely lost control of what happens to Simon after his sexuality becomes common knowledge. Martin seems remorseful, which indicates that he made assumptions about how people would react, all of which are clearly being proven wrong. When Taylor chases down the bullies, it shows Simon that she's not as one-dimensional as he once thought; she truly does care for other people—even those she’s not all that close to, like Simon.
Themes
Agency and Control Theme Icon
Identity and Assumptions Theme Icon
Relationships and Empathy Theme Icon
Abby is stuck at school until the late bus arrives, and Simon feels somehow responsible. They decide to go watch soccer tryouts so they can pester Nick. Abby hangs over the fence and Simon enjoys the view. Nick, Garrett, and Bram all run over during a break to say hi. As Abby and Nick flirt, Simon turns his attention to Garrett and Bram. He notices that Garrett has bright blue eyes and wishes he knew both of them better. He thinks that Bram is cute, even if he's a mess about liking Leah. Bram and Simon smile at each other and blush, and Simon feels a little like he's betraying Blue.
Simon's desire to know more about Bram and Garrett suggests that as Simon comes of age, he's becoming more and more tuned into the people around him and more interested in them as people. This suggests too that Simon's initial assumptions about Garrett (that he was kind of a jerk) may also have been incorrect.
Themes
Identity and Assumptions Theme Icon
Relationships and Empathy Theme Icon
Get the entire Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda LitChart as a printable PDF.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda PDF
Simon feels surprisingly good until he gets to his car. Martin is leaning against it and wants to apologize. He insists he didn't know that people still bullied people about being gay, and admits he didn't think Simon's sexuality would be such a big deal. Simon says nothing, though he sarcastically notes that Shady Creek isn't exactly progressive. Martin responds that he was upset about Abby, his brother got upset when he found out, and Martin deleted the screenshots long ago. Finally, Simon points out that Martin blackmailed him, and insists that Martin has no right to say this isn't a big deal. Simon says he was supposed to be in control of when he came out, and it's awful that he brought up Blue too. Martin starts to cry but agrees to leave, and Simon cries as soon as he gets in his car.
By calling Martin out on all of his misguided assumptions, Simon will hopefully help Martin recognize that there are major consequences to assuming the rights to someone else's story or private information. Martin's insistence that he was unaware of what the consequences would be suggests that Martin has never had to think about the consequences of being something other than the default; his position as a straight, white male in small-town Georgia means that his safety is far more reliable than it is for Simon or for Blue.
Themes
Agency and Control Theme Icon
Identity and Assumptions Theme Icon
Relationships and Empathy Theme Icon
Related Quotes