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Gathering Blue
Gathering-blue
Author Lois Lowry
Genre Young Adult, Science Fiction
Release Date 2000
Series The Giver Quartet
Pages 215
Movie Adaptations None
Gathering Blue is the second book in The Giver Quartet.  It follows a girl named Kira. In Kira's mind, her damaged leg should have haunted her at birth to exposure in the Field, the place where the dead, deformed or seriously injured are brought. Her mother, Katrina, widowed before Kira's birth, refused to relinquish her, and so Kira was spared.

Now Katrina is dead of a mysterious illness, and Kira faces judgment from the Council of the Guardians, since her lame leg hinders self-sufficiency and makes her a burden to her society. She is afraid that she will be sent to her death in the Field, but her remarkable skill at embroidery saves her. Instead, she will remain under the protection of the Guardians, and her only task will be to mend, maintain and eventually further embellish the robe of the Singer, the individual who sings annually the history of her people.

At first, Kira is relieved and grateful. She is comfortably housed, well-fed, clean and safe. She is doing work she loves. She has friends as well: Matt, a scruffy boy from the Fen, a poverty-stricken area, who visits with his dog, Branch, and Thomas, a boy Kira's age who also lives under the care of the Guardians. Thomas as an exquisite carver, and he is assigned to work on the Singer's staff. Kira's one desire is to find woad, the plant that will allow her to make blue thread, the one colour lacking in the spectrum available to her.

Still, there is something that is not quite right with the situation, and soon Kira cannot avoid the truth. She begins to understand that there is more to her talent than a simple flair for embroidery, and she begins to detect the common thread that binds her and the others for good or ill. She faces a tremendous decision, the outcome of which will leave an impact on her world, no matter how she chooses.

As in The Giver, Lowry's writing is intense, tightly focused and deceptively simple. She chooses her words carefully and deliberately: for example, the terms "hubby" and "tyke" are used to identify husbands and children, but in this bleak context, the words are stripped of their original, affectionate connotation. While the society she portrays is stifling and at times ugly, Lowry plants a seed of hope that may or may not flourish. Certainly, a comparison to contemporary society could stimulative thought-provoking discussions among readers of all ages.

Plot

Gathering Blue is the 2nd book in the Giver quartet. It follows a girl named Kira. Kira is a girl with a twisted leg who lives in a more primitive society where people who cannot work die. Her only friend is a boy named Matt, a one syllable boy. She has been kept alive by her mother, and, when her mother dies, is brought before the Council of Guardians by Vandara, one of the women who seeks to take her land. Kira's life is spared when she proves she can weave and embroider very well, and she is asked to take up the task of fixing up the robe worn by the Singer whose only job is the presentation of the Song, the story of human civilization, bed to make every color, except for blue. Annabella tells Kira that blue can be found "yonder" but that they don't have it here. Yonder is far away. − Now Katrina is dead of a mysterious illness, and Kira faces judgment from the Council of the Guardians, since her lame leg hinders self-sufficiency and makes her a burden to her society. She is afraid that she will be sent to her death in the Field, but her remarkable skill at embroidery saves her. Instead, she will remain under the protection of the Guardians, and her only task will be to mend, main eventually further embellish the robe of the Singer, the individual who sings annually the history of her people. + Kira slowly learns that her life is less than idyllic. She hears crying in her building, and she and Thomas discover another orphan girl, Jo, whose ability is to sing and if eventually replace the current Singer. Jo is scolded and punished if she does not sing; Kira envies her but realize that she, Thomas, and Jo do not have as much freedom as thought. At the Ceremony, she sees the Singer (whose robe she has repaired). She realizes that his feet are chained, and he is essentially a prisoner. The implication is that she and the others with Gifts are also prisoners. Kira decides to find out the truth about her society. − At first, Kira is relieved and grateful. She is comfortably housed, well-fed, clean and safe. She is doing work she loves. She has friends as well: Matt, a scruffy boy from the Fen, a poverty-stricken area, who visits with his dog, Branch, and Thomas, a boy Kira's age who also lives under the care of the Guardians. Thomas, an exquisite carver, assigned to work on the Singer's staff. Kira's one desire is to find woad, the plant that will allow her to make blue thread, the one color lacking in the spectrum available to her. When the day that the Singer sings the Song comes, Matt is nowhere to be found. He eventually returns with a blind man from the village in a blue shirt. The man, it turns out, is the father who Kira thought was dead: Christopher. He now lives in a community made up of injured and disabled people who help one another. He has enemies on the Council and is forced to ge to continue to embroider the Singer's robe and help improve the society she lives in. Eventually, during the end of the book Matt tells Kira about a boy with blue eyes from the community Christopher is from. He says he has blue eyes and is not injured in any way, and that Matt thinks Kira should get married with him, but Kira declines to go with them to the new village.

Characters

  • Kira - a girl who was born with a deformed leg, has a gift in weaving, after her mother's death was put in Council Edifice.
  • Vandara - an evil enemy of Kira's; she requests that Kira be sent to the field to die.
  • Annabella - an elderly woman who teaches Kira about dyes, later was put in the Field.
  • Thomas - Kira's friend, a young man gifted in wood carving.
  • Jo - a little girl who has a gift in singing.
  • Matt - a young boy who helps Kira, Thomas, and (later) Christopher - He reappears as the protagonist in Messenger (2004).
  • Jamison - an older man, sponsor and mentor from the Council of Guardians; later discovered to be the man who attempted to kill Christopher.
  • Christopher - Kira's father who was thought to have been taken by beasts before she was born who is later found alive but blind and in hiding .
  • Katrina - Kira's mother who died of an illness.

Trivia

  • Gathering Blue was originally a separate book. At the end, Lowry saw how she could connect it to the Giver.
  • Jonas was also mentioned in Gathering Blue, when Matt mentioned to Kira a boy with blue eyes that she could marry.

Cover Gallery

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