Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

by

Becky Albertalli

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda: Chapter 3 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Simon thinks the worst thing about Martin blackmailing him is that he can't bring it up with Blue. Though they don't talk about any identifying details of their identities, they otherwise don't keep secrets from each other. Simon explains how he found Blue on the creeksecrets Tumblr. Blue posted about the difficulties of getting to know people, how lonely he feels, and how he feels simultaneously hidden and exposed about being gay. Simon commented "THIS" and left his secret email account. Blue emailed him a week later. Simon thinks that if Blue found out that Martin had screenshots of their emails, he'd stop emailing altogether. Simon doesn't want to lose Blue.
Here, the internet becomes a place where closeted kids like Blue and Simon can recognize true and hidden parts of each other's identities from the safety of their own computers and privacy of their pseudonyms. This shows that coming to terms with these parts of one's identity isn't at all easy, and in the case of Simon and Blue, they need to explore this part of their identity anonymously before they make it known to the rest of the world.
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Simon avoids Martin all week and feels cowardly for doing so, even though he's already decided to help Martin. On "Bachelorette night"—the night that Simon's family watches The Bachelorette and then video chats with Alice at Wesleyan to discuss the show—Simon is distracted. He considers telling his parents about Martin's blackmail, but decides he's not ready to be out in small-town Georgia. He thinks about Leah's hobby of drawing yaoi (manga that depicts gay relationships between pop culture characters) and his affinity for homoerotic Harry Potter fanfiction.
Simon and his family's love for The Bachelorette explains in part where Simon gets his penchant for dramatization: reality television like The Bachelorette is predicated entirely on dramatizing normal life events like falling in love. This suggests that Simon may view these changes as being far more monumental than they necessarily need to be, given the dramatized depictions he sees on TV.
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Nora sets up the video chat on the living room computer and calls Alice. Simon tries to participate in the conversation, but he's distracted thinking about Martin and wondering if Blue thinks he's a fake since he’s dated girls in the past. He also notices that Nora now has five piercings on one ear and struggles to concentrate on anything else—this seems out of character for Nora.
Simon's worry here about what Blue thinks suggests that Simon is preoccupied with being gay in the “right” way, which again shows that coming out isn't the end-all of this identity shift. His preoccupation with Nora's piercings suggests that he's deeply invested in the changes his family members are going through, and that those changes are uncomfortable for him.
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As Mom and Alice discuss one contestant, Dad insists that contestant is gay and a "one-man Pride Parade." Simon thinks he agrees with Leah that it's terrible to be insulted by proxy, but reasons that if his dad is truly homophobic, that's a good thing to know.
It's likely that Dad makes comments like this because he assumes Simon isn't gay and therefore won't be offended. This then becomes a lesson in the importance of speaking kindly at all times.
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A week after Martin and Simon's first conversation, Martin runs into Simon at lunch and asks to sit at his table. Simon awkwardly insists that all the seats at his table are taken, and they're already squeezing two extra chairs at a six-person table. Martin sighs that he thought they were on the same page with the "Abby thing," and Simon growls that Martin needs to let him talk to Abby himself.
It's worth noting that Simon never takes into account whether or not Abby is even interested in Martin, which shows that, like Martin, Simon is operating under the assumption that Abby will simply do what he wants. With this, Simon chooses to not recognize her right to control her own life.
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Days pass, and Simon says nothing to Abby. He does his best to avoid Martin by sticking close to Nick and Leah. One morning, Nora asks if something is up when Simon insists on sitting in the car until school starts. She lets him be, but Simon thinks that she's becoming weirdly observant. A few minutes later, Nick knocks on the window and climbs into the passenger seat to watch YouTube videos. Simon is acutely aware that Nick knows that there's something going on, but Nick says nothing. Simon muses that he knows all of Nick's tics, but really doesn't know anything going on inside Nick's head.
Again, when Simon notes that Nora is changing and growing, it shows that the entirety of the Spier family is very caught up in its members' changes and moods. Though Simon interprets it as Nick being a good friend when he doesn't necessarily bring up that there's clearly something going on, Simon's observation that he doesn't know what's going on in Nick's head suggests that there's a deeper connection missing in their friendship.
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On Thursday, Simon gets to rehearsal early, so he steps outside to listen to music. Martin joins him and accuses Simon of avoiding him. He promises he's not going to show the emails to anyone, but Simon doesn't believe this. He thinks he doesn't know Martin at all, but he severely underestimated him. Finally, Simon says he'll talk to Abby and angrily agrees to exchange phone numbers with Martin.
It's clear from the way that Martin acts that he has no idea how difficult of a situation he's put Simon in by blackmailing him. Being straight, Martin isn't at risk of being targeted or bullied for his orientation and doesn't seem to understand that Simon is, which again shows that Martin has a long way to go in empathizing with other people and respecting their agency.
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As Simon steps back inside, Ms. Albright calls for Simon and some other actors to rehearse a scene. Abby hugs Simon and tells him that she's in "Taylor hell," referring to lead actress Taylor Metternich. Taylor is perfect, but she is nasty about it. Ms. Albright leads the cast in some blocking exercises as Cal, the student stage manager, makes notes on his script. Simon suspects that Cal might be gay and thinks he's extremely attractive. As Simon happily acts, he catches Martin's eye and thinks he's hard to truly hate.
It's worth noting here that there are the seeds of a friendship between Simon and Martin, but Martin's blackmail makes Simon wholly unwilling to let down his guard and actually try to be friends with Martin. This shows how robbing someone of their agency can ruin the chances of making meaningful connections with them people.
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After rehearsal, Simon sits with Abby, who has to wait for a bus to take her an hour across town. All the black kids at school have to do this. Simon asks Martin, who's sitting nearby, if he's going to Garrett's Halloween party the next day. In his excitement to accept, Martin trips over his shoelace and then bows to Abby like he just performed something amazing. She laughs and then tells Simon she didn't know he was friends with Martin.
Though there are only a few hints throughout the novel alluding to the fact that kids at Creekwood deal with racial conflicts, it adds a layer of tension to the novel. It also makes it clear that there are other types of identities at play in the novel besides sexuality; Abby is subject to other people's assumptions about how she should act as a young black woman, just as Simon deals with how people (like Blue) think he should be gay.
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