Gathering Blue Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    How does the Ruin Song contribute to the emotional defense mechanism the villagers employ to deal with their pain?

    The overriding emotional core of the Ruin Song’s lessons that even the greatest and most powerful of civilization eventually fall apart and are replaced is one of profoundly cynical negativity. It is an apocalyptic song filled with nightmarish imagery of toxic clouds spewing forth from fissures opening in earth and buildings collapsing in the fiery wrath that is inexorable and inevitable. The villagers are compelled by law to hear this song at the annual festival and its message of hopelessness and surrender is clearly a successful bit of political propaganda. The villagers give into the pessimistic acceptance of their painful existence as a natural state from there is no escape and which attempt to escape or right is ultimately futile.

  2. 2

    In what ways does Lowry convey through context that the color blue is intended to symbolize peace, love and understanding?

    The implication that blue is symbolize such tender positive emotional attributes as love and compassion is made manifest most obviously by the absence of the color blue in the robe that depicts the Council’s history of their society. The very absence of a particular color in a robe where other colors clearly are intended to provide emotional resonance is indicative of blue representing something of great primal significance that is sorely missing from that society. Blue is omnipresent throughout the place that Christopher calls home and so are exhibitions of great compassion toward one another by others who live there. Kira learns that plants capable of being used to create the color blue due exist, but they can only be found over “yonder.” Matt’s rejection of the killing mentality is accompanies by the gift to Kira of a blue cloth. Kira’s mother, an atypical example of a person with an loving and optimistic nature in this profoundly pessimistic society is fond of singing a song—admittedly pessimistic in tone—about how blue never sticks around for very wrong.

  3. 3

    What dialogue techniques does Lowry use to indicate that the Fen operate at the bottom of the social hierarchy in this dystopia? In stark contrast to perfect diction of those at the top of the social class within the Edifice, the language of the Fen is distinctly characterized by the sort of language difficulties and errors indicative of a lack of education and worldliness. Simple lapses in grammatical construction like "they be making me remember everythings" is phrase that might be heard in any Title I school in American populated by underprivileged kids. Lapses in diction common to such groups such as verb mismanagement and pronoun misuse as well heavy use of double negatives and communication relying on colloquial patois all serve to illustrate just how far from the Edifice the Fen really exist far more effectively than the use of descriptive modifiers like adverbs and adjectives ever could.

  4. 4

    What is the novel’s message about the difference between propaganda and art?

    Many of the characters are allowed to create artistic works, but everything about those works is controlled and directed by the authorities. The realization is slow in dawning, but intense in meaning when apprehended: no matter how much creative energy and effort is put into the actual handiwork, without the ability to express one’s vision and follow one’s own muse, all art made for another is merely propaganda in one or another. In the novel, the art created at the direction of the Council is an external-directed force that provides a temporary salve to the despair. The art that comes personal inspiration is inner-directed as a means of achieving genuine satisfaction and empowering those who create it to realize that art has the power to transform people and society for the better.

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