Matched Summary and Analysis of Chapters 9-10

Chapter 9

Two days after seeing the showing, Cassia is at the Arboretum with a group of students, waiting to begin hiking. She chats first with a stranger, and then with an annoying boy named Lon, who crassly asks about her dead grandfather. Cassia is delighted when Ky appears, having signed up for hiking as well. The Officer in charge then comes, and though he reminds Cassia of her grandfather aesthetically, his demeanor is very harsh, even shutting up the loose-lipped Lon. He tells them that they will be climbing one of the Arboretum’s smaller, less wild hills, not the big Hill, and sends them off to hike it without additional instruction, to Cassia’s surprise.

In the woods, Cassia makes quick progress, using the fitness she’s acquired from her personal exercise to navigate the brush and trees with relative ease. As she draws closer and closer to the top, she becomes excited, inspired, even, and ducks suddenly behind a bush and pulls out the piece of paper hidden in her compact, feeling that if there were ever a time to read it without being caught, it would be now. On the paper are two poems that are not among the Hundred Best Poems: "Do not go gently into that good night," by Dylan Thomas, and "Crossing the Bar," by Lord Alfred Tennyson. She reads them fervently, drinking in the words.

The snap of a stick nearby brings her back to reality. She quickly returns to hiking up the hill, breaking into a passionate run. As she does, she realizes that she is drawing energy from the poems -- especially from the way in which the former of the two poems tells the reader to fight. She understands, given this, why the Society banned them.

When she reaches the top of the hill, the Officer tells her to wait for the others and then disappears. Ky is the only person to make it up before her. They chat casually at first, but the conversation takes a turn when Cassia very informally asks him what happened to his biological mother. She initially considers taking the question back, but wonders if Ky wants to answer it. She is wrong, as Ky tells her that she shouldn’t ask him that. He, however, immediately asks her a similarly inappropriate question: whom she’s lost. She decides to tell him honestly that her grandfather recently died. When he asks if it was unexpected, she says that it was just his eightieth birthday. When Ky acknowledges that such timely deaths are not common everywhere, Cassia inquires about deaths where Ky comes from—another question she shouldn’t be asking—to which Ky tells her that eighty is a difficult age to reach where he’s from. Cassia takes this to mean that there might be different regulated ages of death in other places.

People begin arriving at the top of the hill. Before there are too many, Ky quietly confides in Cassia that he saw her reading the forbidden paper in the woods. He advises her to be careful, and asks if she can destroy it undetected. He offers to help if she needs it. She says she can do it. They part to join other groups of friends, but Cassia’s mind is riddled with questions about Ky’s past, what he thinks of her situation, and whether he’s supposed to be her Match. However, she does not wonder whether or not he’ll keep her secret.

Chapter 10

Cassia notices that something is wrong in her neighborhood as she disembarks the air-train taking her home from her hike. There is an Official vehicle parked at her house. Cassia grows worried. At first, she reminds herself that this could be coincidental and have no connection to her. She then recalls all of the secrets she’s been keeping lately and suddenly worries that it has every connection to her. She enters and finds Bram, who tells her that the Officials are searching her father.

Cassia quickly ducks into her room to put the secret paper back into the compact. Out in the hall, Bram tells an Official that Cassia is home and changing from her hike. The Official interrupts her just as she has safely hidden the paper back in the compact, and she shoos him out so that she can have change in private. When she comes out into the foyer, Bram tells her that their father has lost their grandfather’s tissue sample. Cassia can’t believe it. She goes into the kitchen and finds an Official scanning the house with a detector, looking for the tissue sample. This relieves her, as the Officials are not going to tear the house apart looking for it and potentially find her paper in the process.

Several Officials come out of Cassia’s parents’ bedroom with the parents in tow, her father miserable and her mother fuming. The Officials fail to find the sample. In the front room, the Officials berate Mr. Reyes for his carelessness and tell him that he may be penalized at work now that they see his irresponsibility. Cassia’s mother is furious with the Officials for making her husband feel worse than he already does. When the family’s dinner arrives, she curtly tells them that there is only enough food for the family, a subtle and passive way of asking them to go. The Officials tell Mr. Reyes that a citation of the highest order is likely to be issued, and that if anything similar happens again, it will result in a complete Infraction.

When the Officials leave, the family sits for dinner and Mrs. Reyes consoles her husband. Cassia hopes that she and Xander can achieve the kind of connection that her parents have, where they are so connected that the burden of one is the burden of the other.

Later that day, Cassia runs on her tracker, a kind of treadmill. She enjoys her workouts, so much so that the Society has granted her an athletic permit that allows her to run harder than the average person getting in their daily exercise. Society citizens’ scheduled workouts are all part of the system that keeps them healthy, accompanied by nutritious, portioned meals, happy marriages, few illnesses, etc. Cassia observes that with her parents talking upstairs, her bother doing schoolwork and herself on her tracker, everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do.

When Cassia finishes and goes to her room, Bram is waiting for her, holding their grandfather’s watch, Bram’s new artifact. He tells her that he sent a message via port to the Officials, wondering if there would be enough DNA on the watch to create a second tissue sample. He received a reply that it would not be. He asks Cassia if he looks like their grandfather. She tells him honestly that he does. Reminding him that he isn’t allowed to take his artifact to school, Cassia allows him to keep it safe in the silver box that her Match microcard came in.

Later that night, when Bram is asleep, Cassia takes the paper from the compact and places it in the pocket of her plainclothes with the intention of discreetly disposing of it in a public incinerating trash receptacle the following day. She also realizes that her tablet container has fallen from her clothes. She sits up and observes them, particularly the green one, designed to keep people calm when they need it. Citizens of the Society are allowed to take the pill as often as once a week if need be, but Cassia recalls that her grandfather once discouraged her from taking it when she was younger and preparing for a school presentation, saying that she would always be strong enough to go without it. It is this advice that deters her from taking it presently. When she falls asleep, she dreams that her grandfather has given her roses, saying to take them instead of the tablet. The rose petals have jumbled up words from the poems on them. She eats them and they taste bitter like the green pill. She wakes in the morning with the green table still in hand the poems’ words “still in [her] mouth” (Page 119).

Chapter 9-10 Analysis

Cassia’s almost instant transformation upon reading the words of “Do not go gentle into that good night” is a great example of why her grandfather may have left it to her. Ally Condie has said in interviews about Matched, “When I was trying to think of a poem that Cassia could read that she would instantly feel, I knew [Do not go gentle into that good night] was the right poem… Rage and death and light—those are universal human feelings and fears and desires.” The Society’s purpose in eradicating all but one hundred pre-approved poems from culture was to inhibit art from stirring the societal pot, upsetting the system of order that they try so hard to maintain. This poem, as Cassia observes, does the exact opposite—it tells the reader to fight.

The reader gets to see Cassia’s first real interaction with Ky Markham in Chapter 9 when they are alone atop the hill. Cassia’s feels unrestrained around Ky, going so far as to ask him questions that she knows are inappropriate. Though Ky doesn’t indulge her with answers, he too feels cause to break barriers around her, asking equally inappropriate questions, demonstrating their willingness to break rules together. When Ky reveals that he witnessed Cassia reading her forbidden paper, we see his willingness to help her immediately overshadow his regard for the rules. Like Cassia is becoming, he is familiar with keeping secrets. Yet a barrier between them remains, as shown when others arrive to the hills peak and they break off into separate groups. Their connection, from Cassia’s knowledge of his face on her port screen to their shared knowledge of the paper, is built on secrecy.

Chapter 10 reveals more about the relationship between Cassia’s parents. Her mother and her father are a connected unit, and one when is hurting, such as when her father lost his father’s tissue sample, the other is tuned into their feelings. Cassia observes that her mother’s anger when the Officials are reprimanding Mr. Reyes is not directed toward her husband, but to the Officials worsening his pain. Cassia sees in her parents the kind of relationship she desires to have with Xander, the unwavering tie between two people meant to be together.

We see an interesting revelation when Cassia discusses the green tablet in her container. The tablet is designed to calm anyone who needs calming and, unlike the other two pills, is commonly consumed by Society citizens, even as often as once a week without issue. The pill shows how ingrained into the Society the idea of not getting too excited or emotional is. Cassia is excited and inspired by a forbidden poem that encourages one to fight while her neighbors and peers are encouraged to take calming drugs whenever they’re emotions begin to overtake them. Cassia’s determination to not take the green pill at the advice of her grandfather shows how likely a candidate she is for a rebellious mindset, which her grandfather has instigated in other ways as well.

Relatedly, the color green becomes an ever increasingly present theme in this book. Green represents many things in Matched: it is the government sanctioned calming drug to keep citizens placid, it is the public greenspaces that stand out among the dull, drab colors of their surroundings, it is the color that Cassia and her grandfather share an affinity for. And indeed, her grandfather is perhaps a great motivation behind why she enjoys the color so much, as evidenced in her remembering him saying, “Greenspace, green tablet… green eyes on a green girl” (Page 119).