Monday, June 03, 2019

Neil Schusterman's Unwind Chapters 35 -38

More Unwind! The story takes a turn, and I am not quite sure what to make of it.

Chapter 35

We're in Lev's point of view. Schusterman uses this chapter to establish that Lev has been radicalized. I would have expected that to have been because of what happened with Cyrus -- Lev meeting parents that sold their kid into the Unwind program because he was too much trouble, rather than a Holy Tithe to God, as he thought he was.

But no. Schusterman says hanging around with Unwinds is what has radicalized him. Unwinds are liars and trouble-makers, and so now Lev is a liar and a trouble-maker.

Given that Connor and Risa have also been hanging around with Unwinds, and neither of them have been radicalized, I'm not sure I agree with this police work, but okay.

The point is, Lev has arrived at the Graveyard and he immediately finds his way to a group of agitators. Or performance artists, maybe? They're a disparate group of Unwinds whose mission is to cause trouble. They recognize that their situation is unjust, and their reaction to it is to create chaos.

They're chaotic evil.

They don't have a plan. They don't have a goal. They just want to cause harm, to creative havoc, in order to get revenge for the injustice done to them.

It doesn't make much sense, but then they are all thirteen years old.

Lev joins up:

“All right, I’m in.” Back at home Lev always felt part of something larger than himself. Until now, he hadn’t realized how much he missed that feeling. 
Religion, terrorist group -- no real difference, am I right?

Chapter 36

Back to Risa's point of view. She's studying medical and anatomy textbooks in the three planes which the Admiral has set up as study centers. No teachers, no exams, just books. According to Schusterman, it's this lack of teachers and books that cause so many Unwinds to spend their time in the study jets. See, because without teachers to destroy a student's desire to learn, kids are delighted to educate themselves.

There's no internet in this world, apparently. All the books are hard-copy books. Also, none of these kids have phones. Connor did have one, back in the early chapters of the book, but it appears to have vanished.

Risa has been working as a medic in the Graveyard, but she wants to know more about the subject. She's also thinking ahead -- when she's 18 and can leave, she's thinking she might join the military and study as a medic with them.

So far Risa's the only character I actually like in this book.

Side note: for a country that's no longer at war, this Future America devotes a sizable portion of its population to the military.

One day Risa finds Connor studying in a jet, which so unusual she can't think what it means. Turns out Connor is reading about Criminology. He makes Risa promise she won't become one of the new Goldens.

A-HA. Connor suspects the Admiral had the Goldens killed.

Risa and Connor kiss, which frankly comes out of nowhere. I've never seen two people with less chemistry.

Lev comes into the medical jet to be treated for sunburn, and Risa wonders what happened to the sweet boy she used to know. Lev says he has better things to do these days. Risa asks him if he still thinks about God.

Lev looks uneasy, and then shrugs it off.

I think Schusterman is saying the real cause of Lev's radicalization is his Anger at God. Lev is rebelling -- but against God!!

I assume he learns the error of his ways and rededicates his life to Jesus soon.

Meanwhile, another work call/slave market is held. Lev volunteers along with the other members of his Terrorist Cell to be sold to a job working the pipeline in Alaska.

Apparently this near future still runs on oil. That's disappointing.

Also, I guess Lev's Terrorist Cell is aiming to cause an oil spill. Chaos!

Chapter 37

We're in the point of view of Emby, a kid we met back in the warehouse. He's got asthma and his parents bought him a lung from an Unwind kid, before they died and his aunt sold him to be Unwound himself.

Now the Admiral has cozied up to him. Emby is too stupid to wonder why. The Admiral calls him to Air Force One and sends him off in a black sedan with two Men in Black. Someone wants to meet you, the Admiral says. She's been looking for you for a long time, the Admiral says.

It's his wife.

Why is she looking for Emby? Well, actually she's just looking for....his lung.

Yes, the Admiral and his wife are the mother of Humphrey Dunfree, the kid who everyone thinks is an urban legend, the one whose parents sent him to be unwound, and who are now gathering up all his pieces again.

The legend says it's so they can re-assemble him. That gives the Admiral a motive for running the graveyard, but yeah, if that's what he's doing, yikes.

Emby is hauled away, squeaking in protest. The Admiral sits studying the picture of his Unwound son, deeply pleased with himself.

Chapter 38

The Unwinds at the Graveyard realize Emby is missing. Roland tries to convince everyone that the Admiral sent him to be Unwound, so that he could use Emby's parts to fix his own defects (bad teeth, bad joints, baldness).

Connor knows the Admiral would never use parts from an Unwind, and he thinks Roland killed Emby to inflame his followers. The Admiral encourages him in this theory, since he can't admit what he actually did with Emby. He also tells Connor that Roland probably killed the Goldens as well.

Connor, like the dupe he is, accepts this theory uncritically.

Why is this idiot supposed to be the hero of the book? And where is Risa while all this is going on? Why isn't she here slapping Connor up the side of his head and telling him to use his brain while he still has one?

Too busy being the love interest, I guess.

We're 70% through the book. The main action better happen soon.

Image result for unwind fan art Risa
More Fan Art -- Connor and Risa smooch


Anonymous said...

Thank you for keeping me updated on this appalling book required in high school. My guessing game on what state you live in, much less community is now starting to include repressive countries in Africa or states now passing laws to put women's bodies under the control of old white men.
I am also wanting very much to know what the students in the classrooms made of this book. And will they be voting in 2020?
THANK YOU for reading where no one should be made to read. And for continuing the updates. At this point I need to know to know how it all ends......

delagar said...

As far as I know, only one teacher at my kid's school assigned this book (the kid's teacher, who he otherwise liked a lot). The kid says that he liked Unwind at the time, because unlike most of what they read that semester it was very readable. (They read the Scarlet Letter, for instance, and also Merchant of Venice. And A Separate Peace. He *hated* a Separate Peace.)

It's a really conservative school, so probably most of the (other) students loved it to pieces.