(Sloosha’s Crossin’ An’ Ev’Rythin After is told by Zachry, a Valleyman of a post-apocalyptic tribe on Big I, an island near present day Hawaii. Zachry relates his life story to his son and others many years after he has left the Valley. Note: the Valleymen speak in disjointed English.]
Zachry’s story begins when he is nine-years-old and he comes face to face with the devil. “Old Georgie’s path an’ mine crossed more times’n I’m comfy memryin,’ an’ after I’m died, no sayin’ what that fangy devil won’t try en’ do to me” (239).
The first time Zachry met Old Georgie was the day his Pa was killed. Zachry, his Pa, and his brother, Adam, were coming home from market and passing through Sloosha’s Crossing. While Pa and Adam set up camp, Zachry was in the woods nearby. There he heard the voice of Old Georgie, the devil, asking young Zachry if he was a coward. A bird waddled past and despite Zachry’s fear of Old Georgie, he chased after it, hoping to catch it for supper. Zachry ran too far from camp and was lost. He came across a band of savage Kona on horses. The tribe of wildmen chased Zachry back to Sloosha’s Crossing where Pa and Adam were waiting. The Kona killed his Pa in cold blood and captured Adam. Zachry watched the events unfold, while Old Georgie whispered persuadingly in his ear to stay hidden. Zachry wanted to chase after the Kona and save Adam from being enslaved but he feared being caught too and watched his brother disappear. He prayed to Sonmi, Goddess of the Valley for forgiveness.
Time passed and Zachry went to his Pa’s “horrorsome” body and built a mound over the remains. As he headed home to the Valley, Zachry thought Old Georgie was right, he was a coward.
Sometime later Zachry crossed the Kohala Mountains and came to his village. There, he told the other Valleymen about Pa and Adam. He omitted his own act of involuntarily leading the Kona to the camp, a sorrow which weighed on his soul for many years.
Zachry tells his son he wishes he could go back in time to and reassure his younger self that Adam’s kidnapping and Pa’s death were not his fault.
Time passes and young Zachry is put in charge of taking care of a herd of goats. He leads them to pasture near the “steel trees,” skyscrapers and tall buildings from the days of the Old Uns before the Fall.
When not minding the goats, Zachry, now twelve, is usually with Jayjo, his girlfriend. Jayjo becomes pregnant and Zachry wants to marry her and bring her to live with him at Bailey’s Dwelling, his home with his mother and siblings. Unfortunately the “babbit” or baby dies soon after birth. The little boy was born without a nose or mouth and suffocated to death in Zachry’s arms. He buried the babbit just as he did his Pa. Not even Sonmi could save him.
Sonmi was the only God the Valleyman worshipped. The Kona had many war gods and other tribes on Big I worshipped sea gods and volcano gods but the Valleymen only had Sonmi, who walked among them as an old woman or sometimes as a shimmering girl. Sonmi helped the sick and could change a person’s luck but the Valleymen praised her most for helping their departed souls find new bodies after they died.
According to the Abbess, the spiritual leader of the Valley, death was nothing to fear as long as each Valleyman’s soul remained untainted by Old Georgie’s influence. If a Valleyman listened to Old Georgie instead of to Sonmi his soul would be weighed down with stones and Sonmi would not be able to transition that soul into the body of a new “babbit.” To have a lost or tarnished soul was the worst fate imaginable to the Valleymen.
In the Nine Folded Valleys, the Icon’ry was the only building from the days of the Old Un’s still in use. Valleymen placed icons of their loved ones inside the Icon’ry as a rememberence of the deceased. On Dreamin’ Night, a rite of passage for every fourteen-year- old Valleyman, a young man of the Valley would gather in the Icon’ry and pray to Sonmi to visit them in their dreams. On Zachry’s Dreamin’ Night he was visited by Sonmi three times and told the Abbess of his dreams the next morning.
In his first dream Sonmi told Zachry to climb down a rope, then a voice told him to cut the rope. Next he dreamt of his dead babbit and finally of Adam’s rotting bones. The Abbess told Zachry Old George was hungering for his soul and to be mindful of those who tried to cloud his judgment. The Abbess prayed to Sonmi and received three cryptic messages from the goddes to give to Zachry.
Hands are burnin’, let that rope not be cut.
Enemy’s sleepin’, let his throat be not slit.
Bronze is burnin’, let that bridge be not crossed. (247).
Zachry did not understand the meaning behind Sonmi’s words but he vowed to remember the Abbess’ advice and adhere to them when the time was right.
Twice a year the Prescients, an advanced race of people, arrived on an airship to trade with the Valleymen. During Zachry’s sixteenth year, a female Prescient named Meronym wanted to stay with the Valleymen to study their culture. When the Prescients arrived that day, Zachry was with his goats and with Roses, his new girlfriend. Zachry missed the arrival of Meronym, and was surprised to learn the Abbess told Meronym she could stay with Zachry and his family.
Zachry’s Ma was put out by the circumstances but was won over by Meronym’s charm. To thank the Bailey’s for hosting her, Meronym brought gifts as was the custom of her people. Zachry refused his gift but Ma and siblings, Jonas, Sissy, and Catkin were taken with theirs. Zachry was suspicious of Meronym’s motives and asked why a Prescient was interested in the ways of the Valleymen. Meronym explained her people were scholars and had been curious about the lives of the Valleymen.
Zachry learned Meronym’s people all had dark skin, genetically altered to ward off the “redscab” sickness before the Fall. He was told she was a widow and mother, her son’s name was Anafi and he lived on one of the airships. The Valleymen were surprised to learn that Meronym was fifty- years- old, an unnatural age to the Valleymen who died around forty, usually of the diseases of the Valley.
Time passed and Meronym stayed with Zachry and his family, slowing integrating herself into their lives, helping with chores and greeting the many onlookers who arrived to see the her. Everyone else was enthralled by Meronym but Zachry did not trust her and suspected Old Georgie was influencing her.
One day Ma insisted Zachry take Meronym to Moon Nest, where Zachry led the goats to graze. From their high vantage point they could see the whole of the Nine Folded Valleys. Meronym sketched a map of the Valleys and Zachry told her the names of each landmark. In the bushes, Roses watched them with disapproval and jealousy. Shortly thereafter she hit Zachry and left him.
Later, Zachry went to the Abbess and told her his misgiving about Meronym but she dismissed him, saying he needed evidence to support his claim. Zachry blamed Meronym for the loss of Roses and his dislike of the Prescient grew from a feeling of mistrust to outright animosity. Zachry was alone in his suspicions; however, and a month passed without incident.
Zachry watched as Meronym made friends with all of the Valleymen, observing them and creating more maps of the Valley. Zachry had decided to be nicer to her in the hope that she would reveal her secret reason for coming to the Valley so that he could tell the Abbess.
One day, Meronym went to the Icon’ry with Napes of Inouye who told her about the Valleymen icons. Zachry hid in the Icon’ry hoping to catch Meronym stealing an icon. Instead Napes told her about his ancestor, Truman Napes and the adventures he had going up Mauna Kea, where the Old Un’s stored their precious technology. On his adventure, Truman befriend a Hawi Man, who led him to the top of Mauna Kea. Truman did not find treasure there, only large stones. Old Georgie turned anyone who came close to the top of Mauna Kea into stone. Truman met Old Georgie and watched the devil suck out the soul of the Hawi Man. Truman was horrified to realize the Hawi Man had been dead during the whole of the journey. Fearful Old Georgie would stone his soul too, Truman raced down the mountain and returned to the Valley. The Valleymen believed his story and were warned not to make the journey to the top of Mauna Kea.
Napes left Meronym in the Icon’ry once his story was complete and as soon as they were alone, Meronym called out to Zachry. She knew he was there the whole time but did not seek to embarrass him. Zachry came down from his hiding place and told Meronym they were in Sonmi’s home and no outsider had any business being there.
Meronym calmed him and asked why he was set against her. He told her his suspicions and she promised on her son’s life neither she nor the Prescients would bring harm to the Valleymen. Zachry accused her of not telling them the whole truth as to why she was there and Meronym promised to tell him her real reason for coming when the time was right.
Not long after their conversation, Zachry snuck into Meronym’s room and looked through her belongings. He came across a silver egg as big as a babbit’s head. When he touched it, the egg vibrated and warmed itself. Then a ghost-girl appeared, shimmering before him. She spoke in the language of the Old Un’s and answered questions posed to her by an unseen man. Zachry understood little of what was said but thought the girl was proud and strong but also sad.
Zachry said “Oh, eerie’n’ so beautsome’n blue she was, my soul was achin” (264).
Suddenly the ghost-girl vanished and a man appeared demanding to know where Meronym was. He told Zachry to put the “orison” away and to tell no one what he saw. Fearing the man was in league with Old Georgie, Zachry did as he was told. For days afterward, he was haunted by the image of the ghost-girl.
More time passed and Meronym would soon return on the Prescients’ airship but first events conspired to entwine Zachry and Meronym’s lives forever.
One morning Zachry’s sister Catkin stepped on a poisonous scorpion fish. Leary the Hilo healer was called to tend to her but he could not save her. In desperation Zachry sought out Meronym and convinced her to save his sister’s life with Prescient medicine.
By the time they arrived at Bailey’s Dwelling, Catkin was unconscious and Meronym said she could not interfere with the natural order. Zachry argued that just by being there, Meronym was interfering with all of their lives and Catkin needed Prescient medicine to live. Reluctantly she gave Zachry a pill which he mistook for a small stone and instructed him to put it in his sister’s mouth when no one was looking.
Catkin recovered three days later. Hilo the healer said it was Sonmi’s will that Catkin be healed but Zachry knew the truth. In gratitude, he offered to be Meronym’s guide to Mauna Kea. Meronym was warned that Old Georgie would eat her soul with a spoon if she went up there but she wanted to map out more of the Valley from the vantage view of the high mountain top.
They set out together, passing Sloosha’s Crossing where Zachry’s Pa died. They walked inland across Kohala Ridge in a downpour. Later a fur trader steered them away from Kona territory and told them the wildmen were taking over more of Big I. Zachry and Meronym were almost caught by Kona on horseback but they hid in the woods.
On that first night they made it to Wideway, an open flat road from the Old Un’s time which Meronym called an “airport.” Around the fire that night Meronym told Zachry the Prescients believe the some of the Old Un’s still existed. After five decades of searching; however, the Prescients, had only found plague ruined cities and began to doubt that any other advanced civilization was left in the world.
On the second day of their journey they climbed till air around them thinned and the rocks, once covered in lava, grew sharp and plentiful. They camped that night and spoke of Old Georgie. Meronym was not afraid of him and told Zachry it was the Old Un’s who caused the Fall not Old Georgie. Meronym believed the Old Un’s had a hunger for power, even though they already had everything the world could offer. They tripped the Fall by poisoning the lands and changing the natural order. Nature, in turn, rebelled and created new plagues to wipe out the Old Un’s with disease and made their children “freakbirthed,” wiping out their race. The world reverted to barbarianism and civilization fell, expect for a few determined holdouts like the Prescients.
Meronym knew from past experience, living among other tribes, that no one wanted to hear that their ancestors were to blame for the Fall. Instead they blamed fictional villains, like Old Georgie. Zachry thought she might be right.
On the third day Meronym began to tire but they pushed on and Zachry admired her strength and determination. Finally they arrived at an Old Un village of buildings for those “who studied the stars.” Zachry thought it was a desolate place and could not sleep that night. While Meronym dozed, an old woman arrived at their camp. Her spirit lingered but her body was long dead. She had stones for eyes and Zachry could smell the smoke of her pipe long after she left. Zachry and the Valleymen knew more about death than the Prescients despite their intelligence and he took the old woman’s appearance as a warning.
The forth day brought winds so strong it clawed at their eyes. Finally they arrived at the same steely gate Truman Napes once encountered. They scaled the gate with a long rope. On the other side lay human sized boulders strewn across the ground where Old Georgie turned trespassers to stone. Meronym said the buildings were called observatories and they held the information she needed.
The two travelers started toward the first building and Zachry thought one of the nearby boulders was the old woman who visited them the night before. He heard his Grandpa’s voice on the wind, warning him, calling him “Judas,” for helping Meronym.
Meronym opened the door of the observatory with the egg-shaped object that Zachry had found in her belongings. She called it an “orison.” There was a large telescope in the center of the room. Meronym explained that the orison linked to every other orison in use, and every orison ever used. It held the memories of its users like the ghost-girl Zachry saw.
Meronym told Zachry that the ghost-girl was Sonmi, the “freakbirthed” human and not the God that the Valleymen worshiped. Zachry and his kin believed Sonmi was the daughter of Darwin, the God of intelligence and he had no idea that Sonmi was human and had lived hundreds of years before
in a place called Neo So Corpos. Sonmi had been executed and only after her death did the purebloods and the freakbirths realize the significance of her life and philosophy.
Meronym had studied Sonmi’s brief life and listened to the interview she gave to an Archivist hours before her execution. Meronym thought if she studied Sonmi’s life she would understand the Valleymen better but this was not so.
Distraught by this revelation, Zachry blindly followed Meronym to the next building. All the while his thoughts churned because he believed Meronym was telling the truth about Sonmi but he began to doubt her reasoning for coming to the Valley. He went with her from building to building and watched her collect information on her orison. Voices of dead Valleymen called out to him from the boulders, riddling his thoughts with doubts about Meronym.
In one building the preserved corpse of an Old Un with sapphire earrings sat in a high chair, like a king on his throne. The Old Un spoke to Zachry and told him to murder Meronym.
Zachry decided to do as the Old Un said and kill Meronym with his spiker. The moment came when they left the building and Zachry thrust his spiker forward while Meronym’s back was turned but at the last second Sonmi, or maybe it was Old Georgie, changed his aim and Zachry missed his mark.
The spiker flew forward away from Meronym and he lied and said he thought he saw a threat in the shadows. They climbed together over the gate and Zachry’s hands burned on the rope as he descended. Meronym was below him.
Old Georgie appeared and told Zachry to cut the rope. Suddenly Zachry remembered his dream sent to him by Sonmi in the Incon’ry and the Abbess’ words “hands are burnin’, let that rope not be cut” (247).
Zachry spit at Old Georgie and helped Meronym down the rope. No matter her true reason for going to Mauna Kea, Zachry knew she would not betray the Valleymen after all.
When they returned to the Valley days later Zachry was praised for his bravery and for having escaped Old Georgie unscathed.
Not long after their return, it was time for the Honokaa Barter, the largest annual gathering in the Nine Folded Valleys. The Valleymen traveled together with their wares. Zachry, the only one of his family in attendance, was going to sell goat wool blankets. Meronym wanted to see the trading taking place in the market and told stories to entertain the Valleymen on their journey.
When they arrived at Honokaa it was bustling with commerce. Ten or so armed men guarded the market place against the Kona. Stands were set up in one of the only buildings on Big I still in use from before the Fall. The Abbess called it a church, but the God who had once dwelled there was lost long ago.
Zachry was now known for his journey to Mauna Kea and was pleased by the attention. Lyson, a Valleyman, dismissed Zachry’s story and was seen down an alley speaking to strangers. Zachry vowed to tell the Abbess of Lyson’s suspicious behavior but was soon caught up in the festivities and did not give Lyson a second thought.
Zachry and Meryonm bartered away the goat wool blankets for various products including raisins from a pretty Kolekole girl. Zachry drank and partook of “blissweed” and spent the night with the Kolekole girl.
He awoke the next morning to chaos. The Kona had raided Hanokaa in the early morning. He could not find the other Valleymen and was lassoed by a Kona whip and knocked unconscious.
When he came to he had a fractured skull and jaw, missing teeth, and other injuries. Zachry was stuffed into a cart with bodies all around him. His head was covered, his arms and legs bound. He could not see where he was going and thought of Adam being taken by the Kona. Now he was to be a slave too.
Zachry listened to the Kona talk as they rode and learned the attack on Honokaa was in coordination with a larger takeover of Northern Big I, including the Valley. Zachry prayed to Sonmi for his family’s safety. Succumbing to sleep, he awoke some time later and was dragged from the cart with the other slaves. Zachry’s hood was removed and he saw his Kona kidnappers, including Lyson, the Valleyman turned traitor.
All of the slaves were boys or young men but non were Valleymen. One of the Kona told them to forget their old lives and accept that they belonged to the Kona now, body and soul.
Later that night Zachry and the other slaves were forced to watch the Kona rape a young boy. During this “horrosome” act, Lyson suddenly keeled over, dead from Meronym’s “shooter” weapon. Hidden in the surrondings woods, Meronym killed all of the Kona with her weapon and freed the slaves.
Meronym had not been with the Valleymen when the Kona attacked. She said she happened to see Zachry in the cart as it passed her in Honokaa and she followed it. Meronym gave Zachry Prescient medicine and as soon as he was able to, they rode out to meet Meronym’s people.
On the way they learned from the orison that sickness had spread among the Prescients and they were searching for new land to settle. For helping Meronym, the Prescient invited Zachry to live with them.
Zachry and Meronym rode on, heading toward the Valley. Eventually they spied the remains of Zachry’s village, homes were burned, men and women lay dead on the ground. Other Valleymen were being rounded up by the Kona. Zachry and Meronym were outnumbered, they could not help the Valleymen. Zachry ran to Bailey’s Dwelling but did not find his family.
He did; however, find a Kona asleep in his bed. Zachry remembered the Abbess’ words “Enemy’s sleeping, let his throat be not slit” (247). This time, Zachry listened to Old Georgie instead and he slit the Kona’s throat with his knife.
Rushing to the Icon’ry, Zachry took his ancestor’s icons and told Meronym he would go with her to meet the Prescients. They hid in a cave nearby for the night. Meronym’s people would come for them in the morning. While they waited Zachry worried his soul might not be rebirthed in the Valley if he was with the Prescients. Meronym said the Prescients do no believe in souls. Zachry felt sorry for her, knowing in his hear that souls “cross the skies of time…like clouds crossing skies o’ the world” (302).
As Meronym slept Zachry noticed a birthmark below her shoulder blade in the shape of a comet. It was light against dark skin.
In the morning they made their way to Ikat’s Finger where they planned to meet the Prescients. A group of Kona were nearby and Zachry and Meronym tried to sneak passed but were stopped. A fight broke out and Zachry was struck in the leg with an arrow. Riding behind Meronym on a stolen horse, the two rode toward an Old Un bridge trying to outrace the Kona.
A hundred years away the bronze bridge shone brightly in the sunlight and Zachry remembered the Abbess’s words “Bronze is burnin’, let that bridge be not crossed” (247).
Zachry convinced Meronym to turn away from the bridge just as their pursuers came to the bridge themselves. Zachry and Meronym watched from below as the Kona and their horses crossed the bridge. The bridge could not withstand the weight of so many horses and men; it collapsed. The Kona fell onto sharp rocks below and Zachry and Meronym escaped to Ikat’s Finger.
There they met the Prescients and were rescued. As Zachry lay in the boat that was to take him to the airships he watched the sky and thought of his lost loved ones and their soon to be rebirthed souls. Comparing them to clouds, he believed that Sonmi was the compass which guided the atlas of clouds and knew his loved ones would find life again.
Zachry’s son reveals that his father died not long after he finished telling his life story and that he and his siblings do not believe all of what their father said but they did find Meronym’s silver orison and if they held it in their hand, the ghost-girl would appear. Zachry believed Meronym was a reincarnation of Sonmi the “freakbirthed” girl from long ago. Though they do not understand what the ghost-girl is saying her words have become lullabies to their children and her shimmering form a comfort to them all.
Sloosha’s Crossin’ An’ Ev’Rythin After Analysis
Sloosha’s Crossin’ An’ Ev’Rythin After is the only section within Cloud Atlas that is not divided into two parts. Placed in the center of the novel, the tale serves as a vertex between the rising action of the previous sections and their decline as the author details the conclusions to the first five stories in descending order. Structurally, Sloosha’s Crossin’ is not impeded by the stylistic separation of plot as are the other sections. Why the author has chosen to present Sloosha’s Crossin’ as a whole remains to be seen; however, the reader is, for the first time, aware of all of the main characters within the overall story and can begin to drawn cohesive links between them.
Zachry, the protagonist, is the only main character who begins his story at an early age. His narrative style is within the first person and as a testament to the primitive nature of his surroundings, his chosen method of storytelling is oral. Zachry presents his life story to his children, similar to the narrative styles of Sonmi-451 and Adam Ewing, Zachry’s closest counter-parts in Cloud Atlas. As he tells his story, Zachry is able to interject words of caution and wisdom to both his listeners and the reader. For example, he relates that he wishes he could go back in time and tell himself that the events surrounding his father’s death were not his fault. This interjection demonstrates that as a character, Zachry has grown in mental maturity and in spirit; an important trait found in most of the main characters within Cloud Atlas. The theme of truth or the truth seeker is very strong in this section.
Chronologically, Sloosha’s Crossin’ is the last story within Cloud Atlas, its post-apocalyptic setting is prompted in the previous chapter by the aftermath of the corruption of the consumer driven Neo-So Copros and its destruction of the natural world. Set away from the mainland, the island of Hawaii and its surrounding areas serve as a microcosmic paradise that seems to have escaped most of the damages brought on by the fall of civilization as their land are still inhabitable for both man and beast. Hawaii appears twice in the novel, first in Sloosha’s Crossin’ and later in the second half of The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing where Hawaii acts as a safe haven for the ailing Ewing.
Within Sloosha’s Crossin’ the Hawaiian islands are divided between tribes, some peaceful, like the Valleymen, and others destructive like the Kona. The relationship between Valleymen and Kona is reminiscent of Adam Ewing’s description of the clash of cultures between the Maori and the Moriori tribes of the Chatham Islands off New Zealand. When the Kona man kills Zachry’s Pa, his action of licking the blood off of his weapon is a direct reference to the cannibalism of the Maori. Another close association between Sloosha’s Crossin’ and The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing are the similar religious icons of both cultures, each housed in a place of worship unique to their surrordings such as the the Icon’ry. Both the Moriori and the Valleymen also share a deep respect for the concept of the preservation of souls. The Valleymen take this idea one step farther in their believe of rebirth or reincarnation.
Unlike the majority of the other main characters, Zachry is not a reincarnation of another soul within Cloud Atlas. The honor of being the last reincarnation of the shared soul of Adam Ewing, Robert Frobisher, Luisa Rey, and Sonmi-451 is Meronym. Fittingly the name “Meronym” when used as a noun indicates a part of a whole just as each of the reincarnated characters within Cloud Atlas represent the whole of their shared soul. It is Meronym, not Zachry, who has the distinctive comet-shaped birthmark indicating her status within the novel as one of the reincarnations. The reader is left to wonder why Zachry was not chosen for this final honor.
Zachry has more of an appreciation for the idea of rebirth than Meronym who does not believe in the concept of a soul or its potential for new life after death. Meronym and the Prescients perceive themselves to be socially above the Valleymen and similar tribes. They believe they are the last civilized group of people on earth and rely on their intelligence and technology to survive. In comparison the Valleymen accept their fate and expect to die young, ussually of disease. They find comfort in their belief that another life in the Valley awaits them after their death. Ironically in the end it is the Prescients who are ill with disease and the Valleymen who may have managed to survive if it had not been for the ruthless Kona.
In retailation for the death of the Valleymen, Zachry kills the Kona in his bed and then goes to the Icon’ry to take the icons of his ancestors so that he may preserve not only a piece of his past but apart of the Valleymen’s faith.
In Zachry’s world, the preservation of the past was not evenly divided among the remaining races after the Fall. The Prescients retained knowledge, medicine, and technology, whereas the Valleymen and other tribes of the Nine Folded Valleys preserved more rudimentary elements of the past most importantly language and religion.
The Valleymen speak in a bastardization of the English language, removing constantans and sometimes vowels to shorten their speech patterns, giving the impression that they speak quickly and do not waste words. The Valleymen like the people of Neo So Corpos, refer to objects and places with careful word choices such as “wideway” that describe the physical apperenc of an object or place or “spike” which indicates the object’s purpose use. Words such as “horrorsome” are combinations of concepts that join two meanings. For instance the “horror” within “horrorsome” is easily discernable as the term “horrible,” the word choice of “some,” often used in the Valleymen vernacular, in combination with verbs indicates that “something is” for instance “horror some” reads “something is horrible” or “that is horrible.
Several key words within the Valleymen lexicon also illustrate the lasting influence of religion before the Fall including the term “Abbess,” used both in Sloosha’s Crossin’ and in The Orison of Sonmi-451. In the Valley, the character of the Abbess is both a spiritual and governmental leader. She encourages Zachry to reflect on the messages he receives from Sonmi and to denounce Old Georgie. “Judas” is another term that did not lose its meaning with age and is demonstrated in the character Lyson, who betrays the Valleymen to the Kona. When Zachry goes to trade at Honokaa the only building left standing from before the fall is a church. The imagery of the marketplace in the church is reflective of a scene in the Gospel of Matthew (21:12-13) when Jesus Christ grows angry at the sellers in the temple and drives them away from the house of his father. In Zachry’s world the church has no religious significance and he is unaware of the similarity between the “lost god” of the church at Honokaa and his own God, Sonmi.
The Christ-like figure of Sonmi appears to the Valleymen in the guise of a young girl or old woman. Little is mentioned of her particular philosophies other than the overall understanding that Sonmi will protect the souls of the Valleymen and that they should pray to her for guidance. Her main function is to transition souls from one life to the next. Sonmi is depicted as a traditional omnipresent God whereas her counterpart, Old Georgie, is the personification of the devil. Zachry claims to have seen and spoken to Old Georgie who tried to persuade him to do wrong in the hopes of weighing down his soul with stones (sins). Similar to the devil of Christian lore, based on the writings of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, Old Georgie tries to influence Zachry’s behavior in order to take or eat his soul. In comparison Sonmi contacts Zachry in a dream and her three prophetic messages influence Zachry’s behavior as the story progresses. At first Zachry is devastated to learn that Sonmi-451 was once human and not the God his people perceived her to be. Regardless of Zachry’s final thoughts of Sonmi’s divinity or lack thereof, it is of the utmost importance to note that although she had lived hundreds of years before the magnitude of Sonmi-451’s influence over the oppressed of Neo So Corpos and others survived the test of time. Like Jesus Christ, Sonmi-451 was martyred, her image and teachings taken and reformed to suit the needs of a restless populace. Both evolved into Gods. Perhaps the author’s true intend in making Sonmi the Valleymen’s God was to suggest the importance and power of a good story which evolves over time, taking on new meaning. In the next section Sonmi-451 continues telling the Archivist of her life story and in doing so finds her place in posterity.