Study Guide

City of Bones Prejudice

By Cassandra Clare


Chapter 5

"Who could argue, really, that the Fair Folk do not belong in this world, when they have been here longer than we have?" (5.244)

Unfortunately, the whole we-were-here-first argument doesn't work, especially when confronted with an army of angry people with weapons. Just ask the Native Americans.

Chapter 9

"There's no need to be sadistic just because he isn't one of you." (9.82)

Jace might be motivated more by jealousy than by prejudice, but sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between the two.

I will be ready to risk my life at any time for the Circle, in order to preserve the purity of the bloodlines of Idris, and for the mortal world with whose safety we are charged. (9.138)

The loyalty oath of the Circle of Raziel shows that they think they're actually doing something good for humanity by advocating genocide. That's the same kind of scary stuff that has been seen plenty of times in our dimension, human vs. human.

"It's only been recently that women have been Shadowhunters along with men. [...] [Isabelle's mom] was afraid that if she [taught Isabelle to cook], Isabelle would be relegated to the kitchen permanently." (9.108)

Who runs the Clave? Don Draper? The struggles within the Clave for women's rights seem to mirror mortal struggles.

Chapter 11

"You don't hunt [Downworlders] because they aren't exactly demons, but they're not exactly people either." (11.59)

So do half-demons half-humans get treated like demons or humans? It's a tough call for many of our characters, just like it was for Buffy and her boyfriend.

"They would disown [Alec] and throw him out of the Clave." (11.210)

So, the Clave has no problem with djinns and faeries, but being gay is going too far? What's that all about?

"So they're good enough to let live, good enough to make your food for you, good enough to flirt with—but not really good enough? I mean, not as good as people?" (11.63)

The Shadowhunter view of Downworlders seems to be along the lines of Thomas Jefferson's view of slaves. We'd like to introduce Kaelie, part-fey waitress, to Sally Hemings, President TJ's slave mistress. As these two examples show, prejudice is often rife with hypocrisy.

"A few hundred years of the Accords can't wipe out a thousand years of hostility." (11.73)

Just like the 13th Amendment abolished slavery, but it didn't wipe out racism.

"It's easier to confront a threat as a mass, a group, not individuals who must be evaluated one by one." (11.116)

Which is why stereotypes can be dangerous. Sometimes, we wish these characters would really listen to themselves. Alas, these words come from Hodge, who's not exactly a clear-thinking, levelheaded good guy.

Chapter 20

"You're just a slimy Downworlder who didn't even care that all those years [my mom] treated you like a friend—like an equal—and this is how you pay her back!" (20.115)

Without even realizing, Clary seems to view Luke, a werewolf, as less than a real person because he's a Downworlder. She should probably think about that for a minute before she writes the guy off completely.