Reached Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Describe how Reached's narrative is made more effective by having three different narrators.

    Reached boasts a richly intricate storyline, combining two prior books' worth of information together with a brand new set of events, twists, and characters. A very effective way to tell such a story, particularly given that Cassia, Xander, and Ky have each become protagonists in their own way, is through three separate perspectives. This is especially true given that the three main characters spend much of the story apart from one another, and even when they are together, they often experience very different things, as when Ky falls still and goes through a myriad of emotions and surreal occurrences. In this way, having three separate narrators helps to give the reader a fuller experience of the story rather than one limited by a single character's perspective.

  2. 2

    Explore the role that colors play in Reached, and their significance in relation to the work as a whole.

    Condie has employed the colors green, blue, and red since Matched, when green took center stage in the form of Cassia's Matching Banquet dress, the lush vegetation on the Hill, and the calming tablets that Cassia tried so desperately not to need. In that book, green signified growth and change. In Crossed, blue was the focus, from the imagery of blue rivers to the blue tablet that killed the boy in the Carving and that Cassia had to walk through. Finally, red is everywhere in Reached's imagery and plot devices, beginning with the red sunset on page one and continuing through Cassia's red silk dress and the red tablets that she is able to recall taking. Both Ky and Cassia, at different points, take red to represent new birth and fresh beginnings, which helps us to understand the new beginnings that they experience together in Reached.

  3. 3

    Compare and contrast Cassia, Xander, and Ky's narrating styles. What sets each apart from the others?

    Towards the end of the book, Anna calls Cassia a "poet," giving a name to the creative, poetic nature that has marked Cassia's narration throughout. Ky's narration is a bit more straightforward, employing less flowery language and more observations. This speaks to his hardened nature and his lack of a desire to sugarcoat things, although he too has his poetic moments. Xander speaks the most intelligently, and his tone falls somewhere in between Cassia's and Ky's. While Cassia speaks with earnestness and Ky with restraint, Xander maintains a bit of a restricted combination of the two, perhaps fitting given his torn place in their love triangle.

  4. 4

    What are some salient similarities and differences between the Rising and the Society as noted by the characters themselves?

    In many ways, the Rising is quite different from the Society. They allow for greater freedom of expression, particularly in allowing for the creation of Cassia's Gallery. They're less strict about curfews and what people can and can't do and say. And they claim to be the saver's of people's blood, not the spillers. However, there are several notable similarities between the two entities. These include their intense dedication to data, their manipulation of people's feelings, and their desire to have total power over the Provinces. Many of their mandates may be instituted for the people's own good (e.g. the ban on travel when the Plague is being dealt with), but are nevertheless restrictive of people's freedom of choice. As restricting people's choices was among the key evils of the Society, this draws a worrisome similarity between the two.

  5. 5

    Describe Indie's relationship with Ky. How do they function in relation to one another? How are they alike and different?

    In many ways, Indie and Ky are very much alike. Both have experienced great hardship and have learned to keep moving in order to survive. They hold tight to certain people for emotional support: Ky to Cassia, Indie to Ky. But there are several important differences: Ky has always felt difficulty in pledging loyalty to people or causes. While Indie was adamant about finding and joining the Rising in Crossed, and about becoming the Pilot in Reached, Ky was much more hesitant. And while Indie takes great pride in being one of the best pilots in the Rising, Ky's main concern is to save as many people as possible, and ultimately to be able to be with Cassia. At many points in the book, Ky and Indie explore how their feelings for one another could've played out had things been different, particularly when they share a kiss. That Ky says that the kiss is nothing like Cassia's speaks to his different love for Indie, a kind of love that isn't quite the same as the love she has for him.

  6. 6

    Describe Lei's relationship with Xander. How is Lei's role similar and dissimilar to Cassia's in Xander's life?

    Lei provides friendship and confidence for Xander during his long months in the medical center. He looks forward to seeing her on his breaks and at mealtimes after taxing hours in the patient wards. Over the course of the book, the two become close enough to establish a somewhat intimate relationship, though both are careful not to cross any lines, particularly given their continued loyalties to their respective Matches. Xander feels a special kind of loss and loneliness when Lei becomes still, and conversely a special relief when he is able to heal her. Ultimately, Xander and Lei provide for one another a love that their Matches can no long give them, Xander's because she's in love with someone else, and Lei's because he's now gone.

  7. 7

    There are many important and tragic deaths in Reached. Choose two and describe their importance to the plot.

    Perhaps the most detailed death in Reached would be Indie's, described primarily through Ky's still mind. Like Ky, Indie's philosophy was always to keep moving no matter what to ensure her survival. When she committed to something, there was no changing her mind. So when she discovers that she's sick and wants to fly as far away as she can, there is no stopping her. It is likely that Indie saw no way out for herself, particularly with the grim lack of a cure for the mutation, and chose to go out on her own terms by doing what she did best: not stopping. Her death makes the point that no one, no matter how hard they fight or resilient they are, can escape the hubris and detriment of the Society and Rising’s mistakes.

    A second terrible and significant death near the end of the book is that of Cassia's father, who fell victim to the worst of what the mutation could do. In a way, Cassia's father's death parallels Indie's, with one important difference: Indie was a proud supporter and dedicated member of the Rising, whereas Cassia's father chose not be a part of it when his father tried to convince him to be. With this comparison, his death shows the reader that one can choose to fight the Society or be a complacent citizen of it and still suffer terrible consequences; death awaits both types of people.

  8. 8

    Describe the influence that Cassia’s grandfather had both on her life and her character development throughout the Matched trilogy.

    In many ways, Cassia’s grandfather molded both the parts of Cassia capable of rebellion and the rebellious thoughts themselves. He was the one who literally encouraged her to stop sitting at the edge of the pool and figuratively to be brave in the face of risk. His actions, from giving her the secret poems in her compact to helping her remember the red garden day, instigated her subsequent rebellious nature and ultimately turned her into a fighter. He was the one who advised her to be stronger than taking the green tablets, a metaphor for giving into the Society’s ideals. That he was a part of the Rising himself, and that his mother was once the Pilot, reveals just how invested he was in the cause to overthrow the Society and how much he wanted Cassia to share that passion.

  9. 9

    What role does poetry play in Reached? What role does it play in Cassia's relationship with Ky?

    Poetry has been a significant part of Cassia's story since Matched, when her grandfather gave her two illegal poems to plant the seed of rebellion in her brain. Cassia and Ky built their relationship around the ideas of fighting and raging presented in those poems. To Cassia, poetry represents the ability to create original work, which at the beginning of the series she could not do, but which she grows quite skilled at by the time she creates the Gallery in Reached. The enthusiasm of other citizens to create poetry, too, demonstrates their desire to express themselves freely. In this way, poetry represents the people's desire to create, not just Cassia's.

  10. 10

    Why do you think Condie chose not to describe which leader ultimately won the voting process at the end of the book?

    An important theme throughout the Matched trilogy has been that of choice: the unrestricted freedom to choose, even if it means choosing wrong. To tell the reader exactly which direction the people of the Provinces chose to go post-mutation would be simple, but to let them decide for themselves is perhaps the ultimate kind of choice. Perhaps the people chose to elect Anna and begin a new democracy where people are free agents with a say in how they are governed. Perhaps, though Cassia doubts it, the people chose to elect a Society official to reinstate many of the old ways of living. Or perhaps they chose the cautious route and elected the Pilot to create a milder version of the Society in the form of the Rising. As with several other aspects of the story, not knowing the outcome is part of what allows the reader to choose what they believe for themselves.