Study Guide

Cloud Atlas Part 7: An Orison of Sonmi-451

By David Mitchell

Part 7: An Orison of Sonmi-451

  • Sonmi's interrogation picks up where it left off—enforcers have stormed the university and are searching for her and Hae-Joo.
  • The enforcers take Sonmi to Huamdonggil, a slum. In a mahjong house, they meet with An-Kor Apis of Union, the enemy of Unanimity. Apis takes the form of a holographic carp and tells Sonmi he hopes, with her help, that they can "change corpocratic civilization" (7.1.41).
  • After stopping by Madam Ovid's so that Sonmi can have a facescaping procedure to change her appearance, she and Hae-Joo leave Neo So Copros and drive into the wilderness.
  • Hae-Joo manages to talk his way through an enforcer roadblock and make it to their first pit stop, a sparsely furnished room inside a fabricant nursery.
  • There, Hae-Joo tells Sonmi of Union's plans for revolution: "engineering the simultaneous ascension of 6 million fabricants" (7.1.105).
  • By adding a catalyst into all the wombtank streams, Union can prompt this ascension in millions of fabricants.
  • The next pit stop is at a peaceful commune hidden in an old nunnery in the mountains. A large statue of a jolly fat man (Buddha, not Santa) is carved into the mountain, and its portly figure reminds Sonmi of Timothy Cavendish.
  • The Archivist is stunned that people can survive without franchises and gallerias. Sonmi tells him they did it the way people did for centuries before corpocracy: "planning, thrift, and fortitude" (7.1.140).
  • Hae-Joo and Sonmi only stay at the nunnery one night. The next day of their journey, they stop to stretch and take in a view of a river beneath a suspension bridge.
  • A car arrives, and a man named Seer Kwon gets out. He's carrying a small girl wriggling to get free. He throws her by her hair and watches her fall to the rocks below.
  • It turns out the girl was a very expensive fabricant that was the must-have gift of the season. However, the man's daughter has outgrown the fabricant and now wants a Marilyn Monroe fabricant. So he just threw the old one away. It's like Toy Story 3 meets Gattaca.
  • Sonmi is furious and considers the man a murderer. She doesn't just blame him, but "the corpocratic pyramid that permits fabricants to be killed so wantonly, casually" (7.1.182).
  • Hae-Joo and Sonmi finally reach Pusan and stay in a flophouse, where the landlady recognizes Hae-Joo.
  • From there, Hae-Joo and Sonmi are able to communicate with An-Kor Apis again. Apis tells Sonmi that they want to show her one more thing before she decides whether or not to become the figurehead of the revolution.
  • Disguised as mechanics, Hae-Joo and Sonmi board Papa Song's Golden Ark.
  • Sonmi watches as a line of Yoonas, Sonmis, and other fabricants achieve Xultation.
  • Strangely, there's only one door into the receiving room.
  • An aide fits a helmet onto the Sonmi eagerly awaiting Xultation. It kills her, picks up her lifeless body, and carries her into another room.
  • Hae-Joo leads Sonmi-451 into the other room, and she watches as workers dismember the fabricants' bodies.
  • Not only are their body parts recycled into new fabricants, but they are put into consumers' foods as cheap protein, and even into Soap. Everyone eats fabricants; they're even forced to eat themselves. As Timothy Cavendish quoted back in Part 5: "Soylent Green is people!" (5.1.271).
  • Needless to say, after realizing that her whole life's purpose has been to serve consumers and then be eaten, Sonmi agrees to assist Union Abolition efforts.
  • That night, she and Hae-Joo sleep together. "[Their] sex was joyless, graceless, and necessarily improvised, but it was an act of the living" (7.1.267).
  • Over the next three weeks, Sonmi writes her declarations. Once they are complete, Unanimity seizes her, and brings her to the lighthouse for execution. That brings us to where we are now—her final testimony.
  • Before she dies, Sonmi makes her last request, to finish a movie she began and never finished, "one nite long ago in another age" (7.1.309).