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Transcript of Unwind
by Neal Shusterman
ABC Digital Literacy Scrapbook by Trevor Vogt
Antagonist means the character or opponent in conflict with a hero in a story. The antagonists in this book are the government, Roland, and society. The government causes the main conflict in this book by implementing the Bill of Life in the first place. Roland is a bully and wants to be more powerful than everyone else. And society because they were the ones that started fighting over abortion in the beginning. They are also okay with teens being unwound as a compromise and this is conflicting with the main charactors.
"B"- Books (Short Summary)
In this book 3 teenagers named Connor, Risa, and Levi (Lev for short) are sent to be unwound. This means every part of their bodies is going to be taken apart and used as organ donations for other people. This a common practice and the only legal way to abort a child (retroactively). The three meet in a chance encounter and are put through many trails and obstacles they must succeed to stay alive.
The climax in this book is when the clappers (people with explosives in their blood; activated by clapping) blow up the unwind facility (known as the Chop Shop) and Connor is saved from being unwound.
"D"- Description of Main Characters
- 16 years old
- occasional anger problems
- emotions get the best of him sometimes
- average intelligence
- parents sent him to be unwound for repetitive behavioral issues
- overall easy to like character
- 15 years old
- ward of the state (no one, including her parents, wanted her when she was born)
- excellent pianist
- street smart
- helps Connor with his emotions
- small temper
- 13 years old
- rule follower
- born to be tithed out of religion (Bible says give 10% of everything, Lev is last of 10 kids)
- doesn't like Connor and Risa's plan to escape at first but this changes over the course of the book
- affects a few things for the worse
"E" - Exposition
The book is set in the future in the United States after a second civil war (called the Heartland War) fought over abortion between the Life Army, and the Choice Brigade. The United States Army was also involved although they were just trying to keep the two sides from killing each other. The Army eventually splits in half and with the weapons they had, started an all out war. In the end, to stop the fighting, and agreement is made called the "Bill of Life". The Bill of Life states that life can not be touched from the moment of contraception until the child turns thirteen. But also stated in the bill, a child can be retroactively aborted between then ages of thirteen and eighteen as long as the child's life "doesn't end". To keep the child's life from "ending" the child goes through the process known as "unwinding". The body is completely taken apart and all the pieces must be used in other peoples bodies as replacement parts or organ donations.
Unwinding is a common and widely accepted practice in this society.
Also, once an unwind order is singed by a guardian, it cannot be reversed, the child must be unwound. This is of course true unless the child can survive until 18. In order to survive a child can run away. If a child chooses to do so they are considered a fugitive and will be chased by Juvey Cops. It is highly illegal to help a fugitive unwind know as and AWOL. If a fugitive unwind can survive until 18 from being unwound they can return to a normal life, usually with a new identity.
"F"- Figurative Language
- 'Tithes at Happy Jack are like first class passengers on the Titanic.' (Shusterman, 279) Simile
- 'And they will know the moment he raises his hand in applause.' (Shusterman, 284) Foreshadowing
- '"If it's indivisible," says Hayden,"maybe an Unwind's spirit stretches out like a giant balloon between all those parts of us in other places."' (Shusterman, 171) Simile
- 'They covered the five dead boys carelessly with dirt like cats cover their turds.' (Shusterman, 305) Simile
- '"Oh there's no question you're a loose cannon, but more often than not you're pointed in the right direction."' (Shusterman, 212) Metaphor
"G"- Give an Alternate Ending
The next morning government officials read about the story in the New York Times. Many questions are raised about The Bill of Life. After a long year of discussions in Congress and almost a third civil war, the decision is made to form a new Bill of Life. The new Bill of Life now states that any parent that doesn't want their child will be unwound, not the child. The child will live on, as it was not their choice to come into this world, it was their parents. And thus the parents shall face the consequences, not the child.
"H"- Heart to Heart
The role you play in the book Unwind has made you appear as a villain and an overall unpleasant human being. Here are some tips to help you become a more likeable person.
First of all, don't be so power hungry. No one likes a power hungry person and having such a greed for power is not a healthy thing. In the hanger you sure must have been using a whole lot of your time to plot how you were goal of being ultimate leader. Being so power hungry isn't healthy and power hungry people are typically disliked by people who realize your prime power structure.
A second tip is to create more meaningful relationships. All of the relationships you have are built off either your greed of power and your prime social structure or you hitting on Risa. Other than those times you are engaged in those activities, you are a loner who spends all of his time just plotting away. Create better relationships. No one likes a guy who's manufacturing a relationship in order to use that person. Actually sit down with some one and, for once, listen to them and care about their problems. Then and only then will you be liked by others.
My final tip to you is to stop acting like the cool guy. No one acts like "all that" to get attention. This is seen when you brag about getting the helicopter job. No one likes a bragger which was something you were. Be more humble. Even though you may be "all that" and have the "best" job doesn't mean you should talk bout it constantly to get attention.
If you allow these tips to enter your mind and guide your thoughts and actions, you will be liked by more people. And maybe, just maybe, you won't end up getting unwound next time.
Reader of Unwind,
"J"- Justify Why Unwind is a Must Read For All Teens
Unwind is a must read for all teens for three reasons. These three reasons are Unwind is filled with action, Unwind makes you think, and Unwind is a fairly easy book for most teens to understand.
Unwind is a book packed full of action. On almost every page is a jolt of action. Teens love this! There's no boring monologues, no drawn out conversations that go on for pages, something is always happening that will reach out and grab the reader and keep the reader reading late into the night.
The next reason that Unwind is a must read for all teens is that this book makes the reader think. Although Shusterman brings up many sensitive topics in the book, such as religion, death, violence, terrorism, rape, abortion, and changing your body (eye pigment changes are common in the time period this is written and it's normal for kids to get tattoos), but he takes absolutely no opinions on any of it! It's all up for debate for the reader(s). This book encourages discussion, it makes you ask questions. "What if this was really happening in our society?" "What if I was Connor?" " What would I do in this situation?" "How do I feel about this topic?" So many questions can be asked and none of the answers are guided by the the authors opinions. It's almost a sense of freedom.
The final reason Unwind is a must read for all teens is because it is a book that is easily understood. There's not a large word found on the SAT every other sentence, no Old English sentence structures. Just because this book wasn't written 100 years ago and isn't on the classic list doesn;t mean it;s not a great book for teens to read. A lot of the time it's those large words and hard too understand structures that drive teens away from reading, not the actual reading itself.
These are the reasons Unwind is a must read for all teens. Unwind is a great book that encourages thinking and discussion while keeping the reader interested and understanding with the use of modern language.
"K"- Know Your Books
1. Is the plot action filled and believable?
Yes, very much so. This book is action packed and the story is set in the future and because the future is unknown so the book can be classified as believable.
2. Were there any loose ends not tied up in the conclusion of the book? If so, why do you think the author chose to keep it this way?
Yes, there are several loose ends that are not tied up in the conclusion of this book. First of all, the baby Connor saved, then the letters Connor and Risa had to write for Sonia, and finally we also don't know if Connor's parents ever found out about Connor escaping and if they did how they reacted. I think the author did this to keep the reader thinking after they've finished the last chapter and to make the reader buy the next book in the series to see if these untied ends are tied.
3. Does the author have an opinion on the man issue in the book?
No, the main issue in this book is probably abortion. In this book the abortion is down retroactively, but anyhow, the author reveals no opinions and lets the readers think for themselves.
4. What themes are contained in this book?
- The will to live
-Decisions have impacts
5. Is there any symbolism in the book?
Yes, the candle Hayden has in Sonia's basement. As Hayden runs his hand over the flame he says,"It's funny how a flame can only burn your hand if you move it too slow. You can tease it all you want and it never gets you, if you're quick enough." (Shusterman, 103) In this metaphor, the flame represents the Juvey Cops trying to catch the outlaw unwinds (hand). The hand is always moving just fast enough to not get burnt (captured).
6. How does the setting affect the theme?
The setting is in the United States in the future where doctors have perfected the art of transplanting everything in the human body. The teens are trying to escape this process with the "will to survive", which is the big theme in this book.
7. Do the book and the title relate?
Yes, the book is titled after the name of the process where all the things in the human body are kept alive and used as organ donations. This is what the teens spend the entire book trying to escape.
8. Would this book make a good movie?
In my opinion, yes, this book would create an exciting, action packed, sci-fi, thriller with an underlying romance storyline (Connor and Risa). I think that the movie would have the audience on the edge of their seats and wanting more after the end.
9. How does this book compare against others you've read?
This book has been a little odd in a few scenes. For the most part, I usually only read books I am assigned to read. Most of these books are dry and distasteful in my opinion making reading a real drag. And that's not to mention the books where where you have to look up what a word means every other sentence. This book has been very different. I have thoroughly ENJOYED reading it. I finished the 335 page book in just two days. It was a pleasurable book to read unlike many others I've had to read in the past, making it a little odd for me. Also the plot and storylines were much different from other books I've read. This book definitely isn't the cookie-cutter type book many people have had me and my classmates read. This book truly was different.
10. Does the illustration on the cover relate well to the actual book?
Yes, I believe the illustration does relate well to the book itself well. The illustration, from what I can tell, is the thumbprint in the shape of a human, waist up, with its hand up, which is whiter than everything else, almost pressing on a piece of glass in front of it. I think the thumbprint is saying,"Yes, you may be able to force someone else's body pieces on someone else, but those pieces will still be part of someone else; the identity of that piece doesn't change." Cryus experiences this with his replaced right temporal lobe. "...he's a part of me" (Shusterman, 139) So yes, I do think the illustration goes well with the book.
"L"- Lessons Learned
One lesson I learned from the book is that the decisions I make now will affect my future. This is seen in the agreement between the Life Army and the Choice Brigade at the end of the Heartland War. The decision made at make the Bill of Life the final agreement had a huge impact on the future of the United States in this book. This is also seen throughout the book when the main characters must make decisions that will affect their futures.
"M"- Making Personal Connections
1. One connection I was able to make was when Connor was trying to be taken away by the Juvey Cop on page 17. Connor never goes down without a fight. This connects to me because I don't go down without a fight in sports I play, and I'm sure I wouldn't go down without a fight if it was my life on the line.
2. The second I was able to make was with Lev. Lev has straight A's and is the MVP of his baseball team. He also has so many people telling him what to do, he gets confused and frustrated. He doesn't know which way to turn because of everything he's told. I identified with that.
This book is told in the 3rd person omniscient. But the book is divided into chapters where only one characters thoughts and feelings are revealed at a time. This is a very effective way to narrate this story because it gives all the sides to the story, not just one person's. This allows the reader to collect all the information in the book and create their own feelings for things, instead of relying on the characters feelings for that thing. It basically makes you think more than it would if it was told a different way.
Roland Taggart, 17, died Saturday, September 26, 2076 at the Happy Jack Unwind Facility just outside Sedona, Arizona. He was born on Wednesday, April 16, 2059 in Cleveland, Ohio to his mother and father who's names are unknown. Taggart enjoyed playing football and was the right tackle on his high school's football team. Taggart also set records in the weight room and received many awards for his achievements. Remaining survivors are his mother and stepfather who still reside in Cleveland, and his father who is currently being held in a federal prison. 3 words that best sum up Taggart are "fighter", "shark", and "injustice".
Connor and Risa are the protagonists in this book. Lev is a protagonist in some parts of the story, like when he pulls Risa from the rubble, but isn't at other times; when he joins Cleavers chaos group.
1. "Stupid dreams. Even the good ones are bad, because the just show you how poorly reality measures up." (Shusterman, 117)
This is an important quote because of how true it is. Like the dream of a perfect nation in this book. Some people believe the nation is perfect, there are no problems, it's a well oiled machine. But in fact, the reality is many teens are getting their lives taken away every day. There are still unwanted people. Reality measures up poorly to the dream of a perfect nation.
2. "In a perfect world everything would be either black or white, right or wrong, and everyone would know the difference. But this isn't a perfect world. The problem is the people that think it is." (Shusterman, 75)
This quote is important because it shows the need to always keep improving. Nothing may ever be perfect but you sure can try to come up with better solutions. It's also important because it states again that who believe the world is perfect are the problem because those people can be doing something about the problems but are instead ignoring them.
This story only offers a resolution for the main characters. This is that their lives will be spared for medical reasons (Risa breaks spine, Connor breaks arm; they were both bruised badly too, and Lev will have at least some explosives in his body for the rest of his life). As for the rest of the kids sent to be unwound, no solution is offered in this book, no new laws or a change in the Bill of Life (other than changing the maximum age to be unwound from 17 to 16).
"S"- Sensory Details
There is one passage in this book that definitely stands out to me as having extraordinary amounts of sensory details. This passage is Chapter 61 (Shusterman, 288-294). This chapter is exclusive to Roland's thoughts and feelings when he is being unwound. This is the first time the reader actually has the unwinding process described in any way. The passage's impact on the book is huge. The passage has many sensory details from Roland that can be a little disturbing at times but ultimately show Roland didn't get what he deserved. "He looks towards his toes but can't see them. Instead he sees a surgical assistant cleaning the lower half of the table." (Shusterman, 290) "A clanging of metal. The lower half of the table is unhooked and pulled away." (Shusterman, 290) "Yellow figures lean all around him like flower petals closing in." (Shusterman, 291) "...I can't remember my name, but... but I'm still here." (Shusterman, 293) Roland didn't get what he deserved. Yes, he was power hungry and a bully at times, but having each body part of him dismantled from his body is a little much. And the doctors talking nonchalantly about basketball while preforming the surgery and dismantling a human; shocking. ""Did you see yesterday's game?" "Heartbreaker" ... "If they had just made that three-pointer." "It'll be the Bulls again. Or the Lakers." ... "The Suns don't stand a chance." "Well if they had a decent coaching staff..." ... "Well , maybe they'll make the playoffs next year." "Or the year after that."" (Shusterman, 292-293) Roland wasn't a great kid. But he didn't deserve to go through all of that either. No one does.
"T"- Top Five Song List
1. "Hall of Fame" -The Script
This song is about not giving up on your goals or dreams and eventually reaching your goals. Connor has to reach his goal of surviving to 18 or else he dies. This song is also titled "Hall of Fame". Connor becomes the famous Akron AWOL who shot a Juvey Cop with his own tranquilizer. This being said, Connor is kind of in the Unwind Hall of Fame, linking the song and book further.
2. "We're Not Gonna Take It" -Twisted Sister
This is a rebellious song about standing up for yourself because you've been treated unfairly. Connor definitely feels that it's not right for the government to unwind him or anyone else for that matter. Also, if Connor was singing this about the government, the lyrics would line up very well with how Connor feels about his government.
3. "Don't Stop Believing" -Journey
This song is about believing in yourself, overcoming obstacles to reach your goals and not giving up. Connor, again, needs to keep believing he will survive and not give up in his fight for life. He has to overcome the obstacle of the government in order to live.
4. "Remember the Name" -Fort Minor
This song is about continuing to believe no matter what. In Connor's case, he has to continue believing and having hope that he will survive until 18 and escape being unwound.
5. "Eye of the Tiger" -Survivor
This song is about surviving, rising to the challenge, and overcoming obstacles. Connor needs to do all three of these things if he wants to survive. Pun not intended (Artist; Survivor).
"U"- Undercover Mission
3 facts about our author, Neal Shusterman
1. Shusterman was an avid reader as a kid
2. Shusterman one wrote a letter to EB White, when he was 8, stating he felt the Charlette's Web required a sequel. White responded saying he felt the book was fine. Also in the response White encouraged Shusterman to continue writing.
3. Shusterman and his family moved from Brooklyn, New York to Mexico City, Mexico at the age of 16.
"V"- Visiting Your Favorite Character
I chose Risa as my favorite character. 5 questions I have for Risa and an explanation for each are as follows.
1. Who did you write to in Sonia's shop?
This may provide interesting details as to who she blames for her being in situation she's in at that point. Ex. Possibly the government officials, her parents for not wanting her, ect.
2. Who did you look up to as a child?
This would provide an interesting answer because she grew up without anyone related to her. Possibly she looked up to Mr. Durkin (her piano teacher), or possibly one of the nurses at the ward..
3. When did you find out your feelings for Connor had grown beyond just "two people clinging to the same ledge hoping not to fall" (Shusterman, 109)?
The answer would provide insight into the relationship between her and Connor which was an underlying storyline in this book.
4. Did you have any preconceived notion you might be chosen to be unwound before you were told?
The answer would show if she possibly thought if she was too good to be unwound and if it truly came as a surprise to her or not.
5. How did you become so street smart?
This is an interesting question because she, until she escaped from the bus, had been mostly locked up in the state home. This means she was not spending her childhood on the streets learning to survive, yet she is described as very street smart.
The human motivation that drives Connor and Risa is the want to live. Both Connor and Risa have a desire to continue their lives. This desire is one of the most primitive wants there is. The human motivation that drove Lev at the beginning of the book was religion. He wanted to die
God, he believed it was not just a good thing, but his duty to be tithed. Then when he becomes a clapper the human motivation that drives him is anger and confusion. He has become so frustrated and anger he has decided he still wants to die, just not in the name of God. He also wants to cause chaos while blowing himself up as a way to release his anger. Then when Lev doesn't clap and starts pulling people from the rubble the human motivation that drives him is friendship and a hint of a wanting to live. He pulls both Risa and Connor from the rubble, most likely saving both of their lives. Also, when he talks to Pastor Dan in the chamber he's been put in to regulate his blood again, the two talk about his future and his want to believe in a God that doesn't believe in tithing. This shows Lev wants to live into the future and intends to do so.
Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers. None of the characters we are introduced to in this book experience xenophobia. The only thing even close to xenophobia described in this book is the way the Life Army and Choice Brigade felt about one another. Each side hated the other because of the unfamiliar beliefs compared to each other and the others "foreign" ideas. Although this isn't exactly xenophobia, it's the closest example to it in this book.
"Y"- You Choose Your Own (Four Themes)
1. You can't always make things better but you can always try to.
This theme applies to Connors beliefs about the government. Connor thinks,"But this isn't a perfect world. The problem is the people who think it is." (Shusterman, 75) Connor is implying that people need to be trying to figure out what really happens to Unwinds and how horrible it really is. He is implying they need to be doing things that will create better lives for all, not just the teens that are accepted in their families.
2. The will to live and the strength to overcome obstacles.
This theme applies to all Unwind AWOL's. They all must have the will to live and the strength to overcome obstacles if they want to reach their main goal; life.
3. The loss of innocence.
This theme applies to all Unwind AWOL's. Lev says,"...I've changed. I'm not the same stupid, naive kid you guys kidnapped two months ago. Nothing you can do will keep me from ... doing what I've got to do." (Shusterman, 237) This shows that Lev has matured since he first went AWOL. Also, before that point his parents had made most of the decisions in his life, he was almost coddled into the role of a tithe. Everything had been predetermined and he had little to no choices in his life. Now at this point, he his telling Risa he is no longer a stupid kid and can make choices for himself. He has become the independent person he had never been before in his life.
4. People aren't always what they seem.
This theme applies specifically three places in this book. First in Risa's crate. In transit Risa is placed in a dark crate with three other girls. She gets to know these girls while they are being flown to the Graveyard. After the flight she thinks "Risa takes a moment to look at her travel companions. The three look remarkably different from her memory of them when they first got in. Getting to know someone in blind darkness changes your impression of them." (Shusterman, 177) This shows that Risa's thoughts about the girls changed after she got to know them, once again proving the tired and beaten phrase ' you can't judge a book by it's cover'. In the second example where this theme is seen in the book is with the Admiral. Roland is starting rumors that the Admiral is selling the Unwinds as slave labor and is even taking some to be unwound so he can get some of their parts for himself (Roland mentioned his abnormally white teeth). People start believing Roland (it was all part of his power structure plan), even Connor. It is then revealed to Connor, by the Admiral himself, that the teeth were actually dentures (dentures were pretty much obsolete at this point) modeled after his sons teeth, whom he had unwound. The Admiral also stated," I am a decorated Admiral of the United States Navy. Do you think I need to be selling children to earn money? ... Do I care about money and lavish things? I do not live in a mansion. I do not vacation on a tropical island. I spend my time in the stinking desert living in a rotting plane 365 days a year." (Shusterman, 213-214) This also shows that Roland was wrong in the rumors he made about the Admiral just by looking at him, without knowing his story. The third place we see this theme in the book is with Roland. The entire book he is trying to fight, and even kill, Connor. Then he gets the opportunity at the Unwind Facility and he just can't kill him. He just doesn't have it in him. So what the reader has been lead to believe the whole book is that Roland is a killer and will fight and kill Connor at any chance he gets because he is the only person threatening the 'top dog' role in his power structure. Then near the end we find that what we have lead to believe is false and that Roland isn't the killer we assumed him to be.
There were several zingers in this book that caught me by surprise. The first was that the Admiral was the father of the famous "Humphrey Dunfee". This was surprising to me because I didn't expect for the Admiral to have unwound his own son. But is retrospect it makes sense, his guilt led him to found the Graveyard to save future Unwinds.
Another zinger for me was when Connor received Roland's arm. This was an interesting moment because you wouldn't expect Connor to receive someones arm that he had known, much less, formerly belonging to a person that had almost killed him.
A final zinger for me was that Connor decided to go back to the Graveyard and take the Admiral's spot. This surprised me because I felt the after Connor was able to live the rest of his life he wouldn't mess with Unwinds anymore, especially knowing him at the beginning of the book. He does the exact opposite and that shows how much he has matured over the course of the book.
Works Cited done with www.easybib.com
"Neal Shusterman." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 08 Oct. 2014. Web. 14 Aug. 2014.
"Obituary Template & Obituary Sample Format." Free Obituary Template. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2014.
Shusterman, Neal. Unwind. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2007. Print.
"Xenophobia." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Aug. 2014. Web. 14 Aug. 2014.