Summary of Chapter 19
Ky wakes to the sound of firing at the river, which seems more calculated than the typical barrage. He cries out for Eli, who responds and says that Vick went back to the river to fish before they moved on. Ky and Eli wait for the bombing to stop, after which they run to where they heard the noise. They find that the water has been dammed and destroyed by the bombs, turning it into pools instead of a single flowing body. Vick has been killed, his body crumpled and his neck snapped. Ky notices a rainbow fish in one of the pools that apparently drew Vick out into the open. He also sees that large spheres spitting out toxins have been dropped into the pools and killed the fish. Desperately, he and Eli spend the next several hours removing the toxic spheres from the water as best they can. As they work, Ky hears Vick talking to him in his head, even responding out loud at points, to Eli’s confusion. They then dig a grave and bury Vick’s body. When Ky tells Vick’s disembodied voice that all of the fish are going to die, the voice stops, and Ky immediately wants it back.
Summary of Chapter 20
Cassia’s breathing is labored and distressing. She asks Indie to talk to her to distract her. Indie does, but Cassia can’t focus on what she says, only catching incoherent phrases. She thinks of her grandfather’s possible intent for giving her the two poems that he did, and wonders if he had once been the Pilot. She decides that she doesn’t need the blue tablets or the Society anymore. She then finds and picks up the stone compass that Ky carved earlier in the story, thinking it will help to ground her.
Summary of Chapter 21
Eli insists that Ky recite the Tennyson poem over Vick’s grave, but Ky refuses, saying that he’s done all he can for Vick. They pack up their campsite. Ky takes one of the pamphlets Vick brought and leaves the rest. As they begin walking across the plain, Eli stops and turns back. Ky initially protests, but then turns and sees Cassia.
Summary of Chapter 22
Moments earlier, Cassia and Indie reach the plains themselves. Cassia climbs onto an outcropping of rocks and spots two dark figures in the distance. Unsure if one of them is Ky, she points to the sky, and the taller figure takes off running toward her. She meets it halfway and realizes that it is Ky. In passionate disbelief, they share a dramatic reunion kiss.
Summary of Chapter 23
Awash with emotion, Cassia asks Ky to say their poem to her as they embrace, but he’s unable to speak. When they calm, Ky introduces Eli and Cassia introduces Indie. Ky tells them that Vick had also been with them but died that morning. The four of them move back into the Carving for the night. Cassia reveals that she found Ky by using his stone compass.
The four of them trade stories of how they arrived there. Cassia explains that Indie and she briefly trekked into a neighboring canyon before returning to the present one. She admits regrettably to trading Ky’s old compass to the Archivist for information on the Aberrations. She reveals that she has the blue tablets, which Ky and Indie together try to explain to her are poisonous. Cassia still refuses to believe this, citing that Xander would never have given them to her if that were so. Indie doesn’t understand how Cassia managed to keep moving despite having taken one. They all agree that she’s unusually strong. Cassia talks about the slips of paper accompanying each blue tablet. In a moment of jealousy, Ky presses Cassia about them, and she explains gently what they were. Ky is quickly ashamed of himself.
Later in the night, when Eli is asleep and Indie is still, Cassia tries to defend why she traded Ky’s compass to the Archivist, saying that the Archivist traded her a story talking about the Pilot and the Rising. Ky understands, and admits that he tied her green fabric square to a tree back on the Hill. They reminisce momentarily, and then Cassia again requests that Ky speak the words of their poem to her. This time he does, and they share a passionate kiss.
Summary of Chapter 24
Cassia watches Ky wake and they discuss a variety of things. The Tennyson poem. Vick. The boy that ran to the Carving with Cassia and Indie, and how he died looking for something behind the artificial wall. Eli and Ky show the girls the wiring inside the Society-made coats. Cassia has Ky cut out the data collector in hers, but Indie, like Eli, chooses to leave hers in. The four decide to return to the abandoned settlement that each pair previously came across, even though Eli reminds them warningly that there was a light on in one of the houses. Cassia is excited to see all the books and words there.
That night, Ky and Eli show the other two the cave in which they’d camped with Vick. The girls are amazed by the huge wall paintings. Cassia wonders if they depict a Matching Banquet, though she doesn’t understand the movements the figures are making. Ky, realizing this, tells her that they’re dancing, and says that he’ll show it to her sometime.
Summary of Chapter 25
Ky reminisces about his mother watching sunsets. His father desired lasting change, but his mother, with her paintings of water on rock, accepted that things were temporary. Watching Cassia mimic the wall paintings—dancing without knowing it—he realizes the ephemeral nature of their time.
Summary of Chapter 26
Cassia and Ky sit with only a flashlight to see one another. When Eli and Indie fall asleep, they turn it off and sit in darkness. Then Ky brings Cassia outside and asks her if it would be too much to ask for one night where they think about each other and absolutely nothing else. She says that they can’t, though it wouldn’t be too much to ask.
Summary of Chapter 27
This chapter, with Ky designated as narrator, consists only of a poem that speaks of letting “…the world be only you / and only me.” It references the colors red, blue, and green, and concludes with “the music ended / but we / were still / singing.”
Analysis of Chapters 19-27
The night before his death, Vick describes the beauty of the rainbow fish and says that rather than kill it for food, he considered it a sign that he should ask Laney to Contract with him. The fish can be interpreted as a representation of his love for Laney and, more generally, a sense of beauty and hope amidst the adversity of Society life. When Vick is killed in a firing, a rainbow fish is simultaneously killed, signifying an end to Vick and Laney’s relationship and also the death of beauty and hope at the hands of the Society’s attacks.
Ky’s behavior just after Vick’s death is very off-kilter. In desperation, he insists on Eli helping him remove as many toxin-producing balls from the destroyed river as possible, even though he knows that the two of them can barely make a dent in the problem. This shows that in the wake of Vick’s murder, Ky feels a duty, however hopeless, to undo the Society’s crimes, especially those that killed Vick’s precious rainbow fish, which is uncharacteristic of him. Ky also experiences something akin to a post-traumatic stress hallucination in conversing with Vick as he works, a representation of his terrible grief. Finally, Ky’s inability to say the Tennyson poem over Vick’s grave despite Eli’s insistence suggests that Ky may be giving up hope, unable to bring himself to speak the words whose power should never have allowed Vick to die in the first place.
The gesture of pointing at the sky means a great deal to Cassia and Ky. When Ky was being taken from Oria Province, it was Cassia’s way of letting him know that she wouldn’t forget about him. In the Carving, with each just out of viewing of the other, it was her way of signaling to him that she was there. Throughout the Matched series, Cassia has brought up angels and the ability to fly with great wonder. Angels and flying often represent liberation, free will, and peace. Her pointing to the sky may be tied to this, suggesting that, to Cassia, Ky represents all of these things, and that together they're more possible to achieve than they would be with the two of them separated.
Indie and Eli have thus far been considerably different companions for Cassia and Ky, respectively. Eli is much like a sheep in need of guiding. His young heart causes him to hesitate in moments of peril, like when he, Vick, and Ky were escaping the recruitment site during the firing. His youth additionally provides a sense of innocence in an otherwise dark and unforgiving environment. In contrast, Indie is cold, intelligent, and very mature. She demonstrates a preference for reason over emotion and rarely entangles the two, as Cassia is wont to do. At times, she acts as the shepherd to Cassia’s sheep, particularly when Cassia takes the blue tablet and falls ill.
Cassia’s ignorance of the concept of dancing and Ky’s plain familiarity with it serve to remind the reader of the vastly different lives from which each came. Cassia spent her upbringing as a pawn in the Society’s rigid game, where she was only allowed to have fun as they permitted. In contrast, Ky appears very familiar with dancing, as he is with so many things that Cassia isn't. His promise to teach her about dancing parallels the myriad of other things he has already taught her, like how to write, as well as the ways in which he’s changed her, like igniting her desire for rebellion and emboldening her bravery.
Ally Condie’s choice to represent Chapter 27 entirely through poetry is a testament to the powerful role of poetry in Cassia and Ky’s relationship. After all, they’ve come together and fallen in love over the words of “Crossing the Bar” and “Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night.” In the Society, any poetry not approved as a part of the Hundred Poems is considered illegitimate and an act of treason. This is also true of their entire romance. To have their night of intimacy represented by a poem is perhaps the greatest symbolism of their forbidden relationship and the power it has to result in art (to say nothing of the fact that Cassia is still attempting to write a poem for Ky at this point in the story).