Reached opens with the story of Sisyphus, a man who rolls a rock up a hill every day only to watch it roll back down again. He does this endlessly, "piloting" the rock so that others don't have to. One day, a great flood fills the rut his rock has created and washes him away, so a child takes over in his place, rolling the rock back up the hill. This can be thought of as an allegory for the story of the Provinces. The Head Archivist alludes to the fact that transfers of power - like that to and from the Society - have happened before and will happen again. And she's right; it happens when the Rising takes over and again when the election is held to decide a new leader in the book's final chapter. These transfers of power demonstrate both the ever-changing role of the Pilot, and the persistence of his or her task.
Alternating Narrators (Motif)
As with Crossed, Reached employs more than one narrator to tell its story. In this installment, Cassia, Xander and Ky work separately and sometimes together to tell the story from three different perspectives. In interviews, Ally Condie has described feeling overwhelmed at times writing from three points of view, but also that she felt it necessary for effectively completing the story. Indeed, the different perspectives function to give the reader a much more well-rounded account of the plot than a single narrator could have provided.
The Pilot (symbol)
While the Pilot primarily refers to the leader of the Rising in Reached, it also more generally represents a leader that people can rely on. Some believed that there was no Pilot before the Rising took over. As the story unfolds, Cassia, Xander and Ky come to realize that who or what a Pilot is is subjective, and that what people are really searching for is something or someone to believe in, which many can in fact find in themselves.
Atypical writing styles to convey Ky's still experience (Motif)
When Ky becomes still, Condie switches up his part of the storytelling to give the reader a sense of what he's experiencing. This comes in the form of poetry about fading in and out of reality, dedicating entire chapters to short, concise sentences, and even using an entirely blank page to convey Ky's total lack of consciousness in Chapter 44. This better helps the reader feel what Ky is feeling through his illness.
The story of Xanthe (Allegory)
In Chapter 30, Oker and Xander together recall the story of Xanthe, a Society version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Xanthe's story is used as an allegory for the development of the mutation: the conditions can neither be too supportive nor too harsh for the virus. Only by means of ideal conditions can it flourish and wreak havoc.
Reached Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Reached is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.