“On the outside, I’m a Society girl wearing plainclothes. But underneath, I have silk and paper against my skin.”
This is a very accurate way of summarizing Cassia at the beginning of Reached. She has come a long way since being a complacent, average member of the Society. Now, though she appears just the same way, plainclothes and all, she is much stronger, more experienced, and quote disillusioned, and her desire to express herself and create despite the rules against self-expression are shown through the dress and paper that she keeps concealed on her person.
“I’ve changed since I ran off to the Carving and left the decoys to die. I’ve changed because of everything I’ve seen since then, and because of Cassia. I can’t leave people behind again. I have to keep running in this damn cure even if it means I can’t get to Cassia as soon as I’d like.”
Ky was never a character with considerable allegiance to anything in Matched trilogy. Indeed, he felt no loyalty whatsoever to the Society and throughout Crossed was extremely hesitant to find the Rising, fearing it to be just as traitorous. When Cassia came into his life, he seemed to have finally found something to be passionate about. In this quote, we see that his allegiances are complex: he chooses to bring in the cure even though it keeps him from seeing Cassia.
“In spite of myself, I find that I am crying for the Society, for its end. For the death of what did keep some of us safe for a very long time.”
There is great irony in that Cassia weeps for the Society that she is working to bring down, and it speaks volumes to her conflicted character. On the one hand, she is enlightened enough to understand that the Society does not create the ideal conditions for happy, free life and must be stopped. Yet she spent so much of her life coddled by it that she can’t help but feel a certain sense of loss when it falls. It may have had its problems, but it was also home. It’s possible, then, that she is weeping for the loss of her ignorance, with which came the harshness of acknowledging reality.
“In the weeks since the Rising came to power, we have more, and we have less, than we did before.”
This quote sums up the changes that the Provinces have been experiencing since the Rising took power, marking some of its similarities to the Society. On the one hand, the citizens have more freedom to be out past curfew and more knowledge about what’s happening with the Rising and its progress with the Plague and cure. More darkly, however, there is a total lack of certainty about the future and what will become of the Provinces. Additionally, the temporary ban on travel, while perhaps practical to prevent the spread of infection, hints at the strong grip that the Rising still holds on its citizens the way the Society once did.
“But he hasn’t lost Cassia. The way the two of them look at each other is like touching. I’m caught in the middle of it.”
This moment powerfully shows the reader Xander’s continued feelings of longing with regard to Cassia and Ky’s relationship. He very much sits in the middle of them as the boy who loves and needs them both but who will never have the same importance to them as they have to each other. This quote is followed closely by Xander contemplating whether or not he would trade places with Ky to be with Cassia even though Ky is sick, hinting that Xander may still wish to be with Cassia, whatever the cost.
“A little girl smiles at Xander and he smiles back, reaching out to touch her wing as she passes, but she turns at the wrong moment and he catches nothing.”
While the girl in question in this sentence is meant to be one of the young children of Endstone, Condie is careful in her wording such that the sentence could also be talking about Cassia. After all, she and Xander were at a certain point supposed to fall in love, until Ky came into the mix and Xander found he could not reach Cassia the way Ky could. That Xander “catches nothing” in this moment is representative of how he was unable to catch Cassia’s heart as a result of her feelings turning at the wrong time.
“The Rising and the Society have infiltrated each other so thoroughly that they don’t even know who’s who anymore. It’s like a snake eating its own damn tail. This—out here—is the only true rebellion.”
There is a common observation throughout Reached that the Rising and Society are very similar. Ky notices it near the beginning of the book when the Rising first takes over. Cassia continues to realize it as she lives in Central. With this quote, Oker blatantly states what others have been hinting at: the Rising isn’t the rebellion it claims to be, but instead just a modified version of the Society masquerading as a saving grace.
“Suddenly, I see the other side of choice. Of all of us having it. Sometimes we will choose wrong.”
This quote comes as the villagers of Endstone prepare to vote on how to punish Xander for destroying Oker’s camassia cures, and ties well into the theme of choice that has been so present throughout the Matched trilogy. The Society’s totalitarianism is founded on the belief that humans cannot be trusted with complete freedom of will and expression. There is too much: too much art, too much life, too much room for error. In some sense, they’re right: humans are vastly imperfect and, when given their freedom, create an imperfect society. Cassia sees that dark side of this at this point in the story.
“‘No,’ I say, stunned. ‘Xander, you can’t go to the Otherlands. We need you.’ ‘I’m sorry,’ Xander says, ‘but I can’t let that keep me here anymore.'”
Xander here demonstrates the allegiances that he feels he needs to shed to Cassia, her love, and the place where he lost her. He has spent much of the trilogy trying hard to remain resilient and keep moving despite great emotional strain and the knowledge that there is no partner waiting for him when the waters calm. That he is now ready to leave despite Cassia’s needs shows his ability to let go of her and do what he needs to to make himself happy.
“The Pilot. The Poet. The Physic. They are in all of us. I believe this. That every person might have way to fly, a line of poetry to put down for others to see, a hand to heal.”
This quote comes in the final pages of Reached and excellently sums up one of the story’s main morals: that there is much that people have within themselves of which they’re not even aware, and that they need to rely on others, like a Society that cradles and manipulates them, much less than they think. Condie suggests that Ky, Cassia, and Xander respectively represent the pilot, poet, and physic. And yet there is a bit of each of these titles in all of them: Ky was undoubtedly a pilot, but also showed Cassia how to create original things, and did what he could to deliver the cure to the still. Cassia is surely a poet, but she’s also a leader in her own way, particularly as a sorter, and was able to keep Ky comfortable and less lonely while he was still. Xander is absolutely a healer, but he is also a strong leader, one who desires to create things the way Cassia and Ky can. In this way, the pilot, poet and physic reside in each of them to some degree, as they do for all.
Reached Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Reached is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.