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Gathering Blue, book report

due Friday Oct. 26

Emily Spain

on 26 October 2012

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Transcript of Gathering Blue, book report

Gathering Blue By: Lois Lowry Setting: Gathering Blue is set in a dystopian future where the human race has drastically reduced in number. Symbolism The Blue: The Blue represents hope, peace, and selflessness in Kira's world of corruption and lies. Kira's efforts to find the Blue to complete the Singer's Robe signifies her quest for equality and peace in her village.
The Beasts: These "creatures" are actually lies created by the Council of Guardians to discourage anyone but the hunters to leave the "safety" of the village. The Beasts represent the corruption of the Council towards Kira's village. They also represent all the bad things in human nature, such as hate and jealousy. In fact, when someone is said to be taken by "Beasts," they are actually attacked by a person from the village who despises them. This was Christopher's fate when he is nearly killed by a jealous future Council member.
The Singer's Robe: The Singer's Robe represents the future, past and present of human existence. The Robe also represents how authority can corrupt people to perceive the past and future as the Council sees fit. Kira, a teen, is the protagonist in "Gathering Blue." She was born with a crippled leg and was supposed to be left at the Field of Leaving to die. However, Kira's mother, Katrina, refused to let her daughter go and defied the Council of Guardians' rules to leave Kira in the Field to die. After that, Kira has been ridiculed be nearly everyone in the village, as most believe that she cannot support herself. This unfair treatment has led Kira to become very determined and strong in her opinions but at the same time shy and conscientious of her disability. Despite all her misfortune, she finds solace and joy in weaving, a craft in which she is truly gifted. However, the Council also finds her talent as something they can use to their advantage. Matt is a young boy, or tyke, of about 8 years. One of Kira's only friends, he is like a little brother to her. Matt lives in the Fen, the dirtiest and poorest section of Kira's village. Since Matt has lived in that environment his entire life, he has become a con artist - stealing and manipulating people to get what he wants. However, he is a truly good person at heart. If he considers you to be his friend, he is extremely loyal and honest to you. Also, Matt is always happy, optimistic, and caring. Characterization Thomas, like Kira, has a specific skill set that the Council of Guardians finds important. His talent is carving and the Council "acquired" him in order to "perfect" his carving. A little older than Kira, Thomas has lived an easy life, as the Council brought him as a young child to live in the Council Edifice. As a result, he known little hardship. Calm and level-headed, Thomas becomes a good friend to Kira when she is taken in by the Council. Setting "Gathering Blue" is a novel by Lois Lowry which is set in some future time on Earth. Some tragedy has taken place, and now the human race is few, disconnected, and separated into small, self-governed communities. Almost all of the story takes place in a small, nameless village surrounded by deep woods. The village is governed by a council known as the Council of Guardians, and the Council's purpose is to keep the people safe and orderly. To do this, the Council of Guardians has created many rules. For example, one must always be able to support themselves and contribute to the village by doing their designated job. Also, if you are born crippled or become so sick or injured that you are of no use to the village, then you are taken to the Field of Leaving to die.

The atmosphere of the village itself is bleak and dreary. Everyone except for the Guardians and a few others living in the Council Edifice (the building where the Council is housed) lives in poverty. There is no running water in any of the village homes, and the sanitation is very poor. People work hard and are constantly scrounging for food, shelter, and other basic needs of life. On the other hand, the Council Edifice has running hot water, bathrooms, actual beds, and servants. Exposition In the beginning of "Gathering Blue," we are introduced to Kira, a talented, teenage weaver, who has been by her mother's side in the Field of Leaving for four days, mourning. Her mother, Katrina, died of a fatal disease. Now that Kira was without a mother, she no longer had any protection from the people who despise her. Since Kira was born with a crippled leg, she should have been left at the Field of Leaving to die as a baby, but Katrina defied the rules and raised her daughter.
Soon after Katrina's death, several woman in the village where they lived banded together to try to exile Kira. Their plan was to send her to the Field of Leaving to be killed by the Beasts, the same creatures that killed her father, Christopher, when he was hunting for the village years ago. A meeting with the Council of Guardians, the governing body of the village, was held to decide whether or not Kira was to be left to the Beasts. Rising Action The Council of Guardians decides to spare Kira, and, because she is so skilled at weaving, the Council demands her to stay in the Council Edifice to repair and become the weaver of the Singer's Robe. The Singer's Robe is of great importance to the village, as all of the history of the human race is stitched onto the Robe. Then at a ceremony called The Gathering, the Singer wears the Robe and sings a song that summarizes the history of the human race. However, the Council needs a talented weaver to add onto the Robe, so human history can continue to be documented.

When Kira begins to live in the Council Edifice, she is surprised by the luxuries she now has. She has easy access to running hot water in her room and an actual bed to sleep on. Soon, Kira meets Thomas, a boy about her age who also lives in the Council Edifice. He, like Kira, is gifted in a certain art, but his is carving. Thomas repairs and carves the Singer's Staff, which serves a similar purpose as the Robe. While Thomas and Kira form a new friendship, Kira is saddened by her distance from her other friend Matt - a young boy who has been Kira's only friend when her mother was alive.

As Kira begins to study and repair the Robe, she starts to notice that the blues have faded to nearly white and wonders how they can be restored. Kira learns how to make dyes to color her threads for the Robe. Her instructor is an elderly woman named Annabella who lives on the outskirts of the village. Annabella states that blue dye has not been made in a long time, as the plant to create the dye does not grow around their village. Kira never questions her wisdom, but one day Kira tells her that Beasts were following her from the village to Annabella's hut. Annabella just laughs at her, stating "There be no beasts." Climax After Annabella states that "There be no beasts," Kira begins to question whether or not the Council of Guardians is being truthful to the village. Kira reveals what Annabella said to a Council member, and a few days later, Matt announces that she has died. Saddened, Kira dismisses her death to old age, but can't shake the fact that Annabella was in extremely good health the last time she saw her.
While living in the Edifice, Kira begins to hear the sound of a child crying from a room under hers. Curious, Kira and Matt go down to the basement of the Council Edifice to investigate. To their horror, they find a little girl named Jo, a young tyke of about 6 years, locked in a room. Matt states that he recognizes the child's voice and that she used to live in the Fen with him. He also adds that she sings beautifully. Later, Kira takes Thomas to see Jo, and Jo reveals that when her parents died, she was taken by the Council of Guardians to become the next Singer. Thomas is troubled by Jo's confinement, as he has always thought the Council to be fair and wise. As the Gathering approaches, Kira begins to see the Council Edifice as a prison, not a sanctuary. Ever since she began living in the Edifice, she has been told to mend and stitch the Singer's Robe. Kira starts to lose the joy of weaving and begins to question the legitimacy of the Council of Guardians. Kira wonders if the Council is a governing body to respect or to fear. In the meantime, Kira has realized that Matt has gone missing, and she still cannot find her blue for the Singer's Robe. After weeks of work, Kira has finally finished the Singer's Robe. However, she is still harboring doubts about the Council of Guardians, and Matt is still missing. When the day for The Gathering arrives, Kira is nervous and excited at the same time. During The Gathering, Kira, for the first time, is allowed to sit near the Singer, along with Jo, Thomas, and the rest of the Council members. The ceremony passes, and Kira is pleased with her work on the Robe. Then, she notices the Singer's feet hidden from view below the Robe. They are bound by chains, which have lacerated his ankles to the point where they have become extremely infected. When he walks, he leaves a thin trail of blood on the ground - but nobody, save Kira, notices. Horrified, she and Thomas venture back into the Council Edifice, where, to their surprise, they reunite with Matt. However, he is not alone. Matt has brought another man from a distant village with him. This stranger is Christopher, Kira's father. Falling Action When Kira sees her father for the first time in her life, she is shocked, happy, and confused. How is he still alive? How could he be alive? The Council and her mother have been saying that he had been killed by Beasts even before she was born! Christopher explains that is wasn't Beasts who attacked him - it was other another man from the village. The man who attacked him was jealous that Christopher would soon be on the Council of Guardians, so he decided to kill him and take his place. However, when the man attacked Christopher and left him to die in the woods, Christopher was found by a group of people from another village. This group brought Kira's father back to their own community and nursed him back to health. They could not heal all his injures, though - Christopher was permanently blind.
"They help each other," Kira's father explained about his new village, "We help each other." Resolution After explaining what had really happened, Christopher asks his daughter if she would like to come back with him. Confused, Kira walks away without giving him an answer.
Then, Kira realizes that, for her whole life, the Council of Guardians have been spoon feeding the people of her village lies. There were never any Beasts. Life beyond the village walls was not as dangerous as they had stated. She thinks perhaps some of the images on the Singer's Robe are not true. Kira comes to the conclusion that the Council needs people like her, Thomas, and Jo to write the future as the Council sees fit. The Council has the cunning to manipulate people like Kira - people who have the creative power to depict the future for others.

In the end, Kira decides to stay in her village. She will stay to try and depict the future on the Singer's Robe as it really happens - not as the corrupt Council sees it. Before her father departs, he hands her the plant that creates the blue dye and with it, a swath of blue cloth. "The blue was gathered in her hand, and she could feel it quiver, as if it had been given breath and was beginning to live." The Council Edifice Kira's House Kira Matt Thomas Theme Despite living in a corrupted, disconnected, and miserable world, one can find purpose and happiness in oneself and bring hope to build a better world for others.

In "Gathering Blue," Kira lives in a corrupted society where it is hard to find a sliver of promise. However, in the end, she is able to find her purpose and knows how to bring hope to her people. Independent Reading Project on "Gathering Blue" by:
Emily Spain
2nd Block
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