The Testing

The Testing Literary Elements


Dystopian Young Adult Fiction

Setting and Context

the United Commonwealth after the Seven Stages of War

Narrator and Point of View

Cia is the narrator, and the novel is told from her point of view.

Tone and Mood

The tone of the novel is meditative as Charbonneau inspires the reader to determine whether or not the Testing officials have gone too far. The mood of the novel is nightmarish.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist is Cia Vale, and the antagonist is the Testing.

Major Conflict

Cia must overcome the dangerous and deadly events of the Testing in order to stay alive.


The climax of the novel is when Cia discovers that she passed the Testing and is now admitted into University.


Cia's father's nightmares foreshadow what types of events Cia will experience when she goes through the Testing. Also, Tomas and Zandri's distrust of Will foreshadows his true nature, though it is difficult for Cia to see that Will is dangerous.


Roman Fry's attitude while completing practice questions during the third round of testing is an understatement of how smart and calculating he actually is.


The "Big Brother" theme of the novel is an allusion to George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eight-Four, as the government officials are constantly watching over the characters.


The description of Tosu City compared with the living conditions of its poor and homeless inhabitants; the ceremonial colors worn by citizens of Five Lakes Colony; the rubble maze and evidence of the war's destruction; the human creatures appearance contrasted with their actions.


Motivated by her own need to succeed, the Testing forces Cia to consider whether or not leaders should take whatever action is necessary to ensure success.



Metonymy and Synecdoche