In the book’s first chapter, as Cassia is nearing City Hall to attend her Matching Banquet, she compares the two pieces of her compact coming together to the way in which her ideal plans for her Banquet are coming together. Having always wanted to be Matched on her seventeenth birthday, she feels that things are falling into place, the way the compact’s locking mechanism literally does the same.
Drowning in Worry (Metaphor)
When Cassia learns that Xander’s microcard did not appear to display anything out of the ordinary to him, she says, “I am not drowning in worry anymore. I am neck deep and it still washes over me in cold waves, but now I can breathe” (Page 37). This shows how stressed she was to think that something had gone wrong with their Match. If Xander had also experienced a malfunction, then perhaps she and he were not meant to be together after all, a notion that Cassia couldn’t bear to entertain at the moment. Though she still worries greatly over her own card malfunction, Xander’s ignorance of the event is her glimmer of hope.
Flakes Driven By the Wind (Simile)
Ally Condie rarely employs simile as a literary device in Matched, but one instance where she does is in the description of Cassia’s sorting, in the scene where we see her at work for the time: “The numbers fly into their spots like flakes driven by the wind” (Page 32). In addition to describing the quick and efficient pace at which she works, this imagery is reminiscent of the snow she described only a few pages earlier when the rain of Cottonwood scenes hit her air train.
Breaking the Bones of the Books (Metaphor)
In Chapter 11, when Cassia destroys her father’s secret paper at her father’s work site, she observes workers destroying old, forbidden books, and compares their destruction to the breaking of backs. “The books’ backs are broken; their bones, thin and delicate, fall out. The workers shove them toward the incineration tube; they step on them. The bones crackle under their boots like leaves” (Page 127). This destruction is a metaphor not just for the loss of the books, but also for the loss of the knowledge they held. Knowledge, in a sense, is a living, breathing entity, and to kill it in the form a book, much like killing an animal, involves a degree of animosity.
The Compass Needle (Metaphor)
Cassia compares herself to the needle of Ky’s compass, feeling lost. As of Chapter 16, when this metaphor occurs, she has many unanswered questions and conflicting emotions regarding Ky. Though she doesn’t know exactly what his artifact does, she knows that it can at a certain point decide on a direction to go in; she, to her own dismay, cannot seem do the same.
The Door of Cassia’s House (Metaphor)
Cassia compares Xander’s inability to come inside her house, as per the rules of the Society, to her inability to let him in emotionally, saying, “No one can ever really come in, and when it’s time to let them, we don’t know how” (Page 190). The Society has conditioned her to keep secrets, lest she be punished for revealing that she has them; so, while she might want to let Xander know what’s going on in her life and why she’s feeling so conflicted, she has no idea how to do so, just as she would have no idea what to do were he to actually enter her home.
Matched Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Matched is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.