Matched Chapter 11

Ally starts the chapter off with the start of Cassia’s day because laziness is common to hacks no matter what their background. Cassia says she can hear “breakfast sounds” coming from the kitchen. This means the ding of the microwave and her parents arguing about which one of them gets to keep the house. Her mother wanders to her door and tells her she’ll be late to breakfast.

I know. I want to be late to breakfast. I don’t want to see my father today. I don’t want to talk about what happened yesterday, but I don’t want to not-talk about it either, to sit at the table with our portions of food and pretend that Grandfather isn’t gone for good.

I’m shocked, Cassia is acting almost like a real person. I guess the insects piloting her have started to go native after being exposed for so long. Cassia’s reservations don’t prevent her from getting up and going to the table. She hears some announcement on the “port”—computer—about hiking. Then her brother says that there’s no hiking for her today as it’s going to rain. Wow, Ally, the suspense was killing me. You’d better take it easy or I’ll have to stop reading and have a lie down.

Mom asks Cassia where she’s going today now that she has some convenient free time. Cassia says she’ll go visit her dad while mom warns her not to interrupt work for too long. It is dangerous to interrupt a cattle inseminator while he’s holding a giant needle. Cassia though secretly thinks she’ll head to the library and dispose of the poetry there so they won’t think it’s strange. Cassia then adds that’s only if they actually monitor the incinerator tubes. Then Ally waxes stupidly about writing.

If only we still knew how to write instead of just type things into our scribes. Then I could write them down again someday. Then I might be able to have them when I am old.

Am I wrong to picture Ally shaking her cane and screaming about us damn kids? Again, I’m not following why these people don’t know how to write. Even in a society dominated by computers, writing hasn’t completely vanished from the here and now. And even if they weren’t taught how to write, that doesn’t mean they don’t know what the letters look like. Even without instruction, it’s not impossible to reproduce a Q.

Cassia spots Ky on the way to the bus stop. She says that he must have to report to work when his free time gets cancelled. Or maybe he’s terribly bored by all the people too stupid to learn how to write. He asks if Cassia missed her bus. She says no, that she’s on the way to see her dear old dad and maybe ask to borrow his credit card so she can go shopping.

Ky lives in our Borough, so of course he knows the Officials visited us last night. He won’t say anything, though—no one will. It’s not their business unless the Society says that it is.

Over looking the bold declaration that he won’t say anything, how lazy is Ally? Specifically regarding Cassia’s love interests. She doesn’t even have to leave the neighborhood to find the man of her dreams. That’s awfully convenient for her but terribly boring for us. What tension can there really be when pursuing Xander or Ky isn’t very hard? How can we be expected to care about a character who’s hardest decision is like choosing between branded soda? She stands to lose nothing either way and both of them are right there, ready for the taking.

Ky then approaches Cassia and whisper asks if she’s going to his office in the city. Cassia says no, that he’s at a work site then Ky asks if she can make it there and back before school Cassia is pretty sure and I’m trying not to fall asleep while reading this. Why these two are acting like they’re being spied upon is beyond me. I wouldn’t be worried about a government that couldn’t tell who came into the house. If they were following her, they’d probably attach a leash to her and tell her to go about her business. Then Cassia comments on Ky’s eyes.

Against the clouds, Ky’s eyes seem lighter, reflecting the gray around them, and I have an unsettling thought: perhaps his eyes have no color. They reflect what he wears, who the Officials tell him to be. When he wore brown, his eyes looked brown. Now that he wears blue, they look blue.

“What are you thinking about?” he asks me.

I tell him the truth. “The color of your eyes.”

Or maybe, he doesn’t have any eyes of his own. It turns out, Ky is actually a demon who was born blind and must steal the eyes of a new victim every fortnight in order to see. Ky smiles, knowing who his next victim will be and Cassia gushes how he looks just like the boy she saw at the pool years ago. She asks what he’s thinking about and he says work. Then they stare at each other for awhile.

Cassia arrives at the set of Farenheit 451 where the Officials are busy burning books day and night, trying to keep Cassia’s ego warm. She says she’s out of place but not forbidden but that it would be best not to be seen. Which is probably a little hard to do in the middle of the day. Not exactly employing the art of stealth, are we Cassia? She says that people tried to hide boks away from the future almost as if they knew and blah blah blah. Yes, Ally, we get it. You managed to read two whole books about totalitarian governments. I’m loathe to think what this would have looked like if she’d seen Equilibrium too. Then Cassia spots her father.

One figure wears white. An Official. My father. All workers have protective helmets, so I can’t see his face, but the confidence is back in his walk. He moves purposefully, in his element, giving directions and pointing out where he wants the tubes to go next.

Then Cassia remembers grandpa was also an Official, like this just slipped her mind. How could you forget that your family is part of the system, Cassia? Cassia and her dad don’t say one word of greeting or friendly conversation. She just watches them pull the books apart to stuff them into the tubes faster. Then Cassia says how their family has always been thinkers not doers. I’d say that’s giving your family a hell of a lot of credit, Cassia. Yes, I just got a message back from the Department of Suspension of Disbelief and they say you’re far too overdrawn as it is and they can’t loan you anymore until absolve some of your current debt.

So how is Cassia going to dispose of this forbidden poem amidst all the activity? Why, she’ll just pull out the paper and let it go. When she does, a convenient breeze pulls it down to the pit and it’s gone. Also, the other Officials are watching her father so she’s completely unnoticed. I have to wonder why the disposal site for literature isn’t monitored better than that. They don’t just let people wander into nuclear waste dumps.

‘Hey Ted?’ ‘Yes Esthe?’ ‘Have you noticed that girl keeps going in and out of yard?’ ‘I have indeed.’ ‘And have you noticed that she’ll go inside for a few minutes, skulk around the piles and then come out again? Only to repeat the process many times?’ ‘I have noticed.’ ‘And could you say that it looks like she’s trying to hide something in her dress when she leaves but not coming in?’ ‘Why I suppose you could say that, Esthe. You might think that she’s trying to carry out loads of forbidden material or, perhaps, dispose of it.’ ‘Should we stop and search her?’ ‘Well, her father was recently cited so I don’t see any reason someone in the family would do anything wrong after that. People don’t continue breaking the law once they’ve been punished.’

Flash forward to school where Cassia is rushing to avoid being late. Xander is waiting for her and asks if everything is okay. Cassia thinks that she should tell Xander everything but then remembers that communication is an effective way to bring people in the loop and she can’t have that. She says she’s fine then Xander says that a new activity is being added this Saturday. Gardening!

He’s rather excited because they’ll get to replant flowers and have a picnic. Xander even says that they’ll have ice cream! So this “society” has done their best to turn their children into the ideal teens from the nineteen fifties. Next Xander will tell Cassia how keen she is and ask if she wants to go park and hold hands.

The enthusiasm in Xander’s voice makes me smile a little. “Xander, that’s nothing but a glorified work project. They want some free labor and they’re bribing us with ice cream.”

One second Cassia naively tells us that her dad and grandpa are different from the other officials, the next, she’s telling chiding another character for being stupid. Xander says he signed her up because he was sure she’d go along. Sure enough, though Cassia feels “a tiny bit of annoyance” because he didn’t discuss it with her. Even though she says she’d have signed up anyway just to get out, do something different and get ice cream. How dare you know what Cassia like, Xander. Next you’ll try to buy her dinner and she’ll slap you for it.

They get to class, they sit in class, Cassia asks where one of her nameless mook friends is and Xander says she got her final position. Then she wonders what will happen if Xander gets his vocation spot first, reminds herself that they’re matched and he won’t leave her behind and then wonders how he’d react upon hearing about seeing Ky on the screen. He’d probably think that it was a glitch and that you’re crazy for hiding it. Then a rainstorm comes and makes Cassia think about the Tennyson poem she burned and quote a line at us.

A line from that other poem, the Tennyson one, comes to mind suddenly: The flood may bear me far.

Wow, pretentious and dull. Usually the only authors that hit that mark rake in the awards.

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3 Responses to Matched Chapter 11

  1. maeverin says:

    to be fair, it sounds like this society didn’t forget how to write so much as they forgot which end of the pencil to use. that eraser end can really muck things up! and pens are just too scarey–so…permanent and unforgiving.

    • vivisector says:

      Plus that would require Cassia to do/learn something and that’s forbidden in these YA novels. Unless it’s extremely easy for them and they become the best at it.

  2. Oculus_Reparo says:

    Oh, she did not just burn “Crossing the Bar.” She didn’t. No–she did! Boo! BOOOOOOOOOOO!
    Boo from the Haunted Halloween Chorus of Dissent!
    . . . Okay, maybe I *am* a bit pretentious. 😉

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