Study Guide

The Host Quotes

  • Identity

    Because Fords Deep Waters lived inside a human body, irritation was sometimes inescapable. (Prologue.2)

    It's difficult for Wanderer to separate her feelings, if she has any, from the feelings of her host body. It makes us wonder what parts of emotion are ruled by the mind and which parts are ruled by the body's physiology. (Ask an adolescent boy.)

    I'd bound myself securely into the body's center of thought [...] until it was no longer a separate entity. It was me. Not the body, my body. (1.4-1.5)

    Humans take for granted that we only have one body. It's ours and no one else's. Wanda's species, however, takes different bodies. There's a short acclimation period after Wanda wakes up in her new form, and she has to consciously remind herself that the body she's inhabiting is hers. She has to make it her possession. (She could probably take some tips from Jared.)

    On every planet we took a different name. (2.18)

    Names are closely tied to identity in the world of The Host. No wonder Wanda's identity is so fragile, she doesn't have a name.

    "Kevin is seven human years old now, and perfectly normal... aside from the fact that he kept the name Kevin, that is." (3.73)

    When a soul takes possession of a human body, they tend to pick and choose what parts of the human's personality to take on. Sometimes they even take on the person's name. Wanda has a similar experience with Melanie that this soul did with Kevin. She pretty much acts like Melanie in every way, stopping short at calling herself "Melanie."

    "Curt and I had to pretend to be our hosts for several years." (5.34)

    The Comforter's statement makes you wonder how much of her behavior is truly hers and how much is simply mimicked from the humans. Hey, we can't be around our friends without picking up their mannerisms, either, so we sympathize.

    I wanted to touch [Jared's] face. I wanted it. Melanie did not like this. (29.112)

    Their thoughts and feelings are so intertwined, Wanda thinks she's the one who wants Jared even though she has no reason to love him. He's punched her, disparaged her, tried to kill her, etc. (Well, do you even need more reasons?) It's Melanie who wants Jared, not Wanda. She's reclaiming control of her body when Jared is present. And she probably has to fight him for control, too.

    "That's my point. Body and soul. Two different things, in my case." (38.85)

    Wanda is talking about how she could be put into a man's body and still function the same. This raises hundreds of interesting questions. Would Ian still be attracted to her if she was in a man's body? (We doubt it.) And would Wanda, who is technically female, be attracted to a human female, like Heidi perhaps, if she was in a man's body?

    "How does going to one of those other planets help you? You'll still be a parasite, [Wanda]." (57.67)

    Don't hold back, Jeb. But Wanda has to deal with this, because her species is, by nature, parasitic. Although, judging by the state the Earth is in when her species arrives—murders, rapes, environmental disasters—we think her parasitic species will fit right in with the humans.

    I would stay in the dirt, in the dark grotto with my friends. A human grave for the human I had become. (58.18)

    By the end of the novel, Wanda identifies much more with the humans than with her own species. She even wants to die as a human and be given a human burial. Sweet. And morbid.

    People touched my cheeks often, or put their fingers under my chin, holding my face up to see it better. I was frequently patted on my head (which was in easy reach, since I was shorter than everyone but the children). (Epilogue.8)

    Wanda goes from being perceived as athletic and strong (and an enemy) to being small, weak, and frail (and a friend). It affects how she sees herself, too. No longer able to move and operate the way she did inside Melanie's body, she feels even more like an insecure child.

  • Love

    Anger flashed through me, hot and wild. [...] In eight full lives, I'd never had an emotion touch me with such force. (2.76)

    There's a fine line between love and anger. Melanie is fiercely protecting her love, Jared, from Wanderer's probing thoughts. As Wanderer explorers further, she encounters the flip side of love: anger, which is hot and wild—just like love.

    [Jared] kisses me again, and this time I feel it. (4.110)

    Love isn't just in the mind and heart, there's a physiological aspect to it as well. Melanie's body responds so strongly to Jared's affection that it's impossible to tell where Wanda's feelings end and Melanie's physical reactions begin.

    "How much is physical, how much in the mind? How much accident and how much fate? [...] Love simply is where it is." (5.41)

    The Comforter asks some big questions. How do these questions apply to the Host? Both accident and fate play a big role in both Melanie/Jared and Wanda/Ian's love lives. And the issue of a physical body is beyond complicated in both situations.

    "Perhaps you should open your eyes and look around for [love] specifically. It might do you a lot of good." (6.27)

    This statement contrasts with the Comforter's earlier "love happens" idea. Is it possible to go looking for love and find it? Or do you have to wait until it finds you?

    It's just like pain, this pleasure. (8.60)

    If we were making a soundtrack to the book, this scene would have to be set to "Hurts So Good." And then we might take Wanda in for some counseling.

    My heart faltered and then beat unevenly, and I wanted to laugh at myself. Did it matter that [Jared] was beautiful, that I loved him, when he was going to kill me? (14.15)

    Melanie's emotions make Wanda think irrational thoughts. Jared hates Wanda and wants to kill her, yet she can't help but swoon over him. Get it together, girl, and stay away from him!

    Perhaps without the lows, the highs could not be reached. Were the souls the exception to that rule? Could they have the light without the darkness of the world? (15.43)

    This is only the end of a beautiful, thought-provoking passage about the nature of love. Love is the ultimate force in The Host, and the main reason that Wanda decides to stay human. From her lives inside of other species, she's learned that such powerful feelings of love come along with other passionate emotions on the other end of the spectrum—dare we say, like a parasite?

    I knew the human exaggeration for sorrow—a broken heart. [...] I'd always thought of it as a hyperbole. [...] I wasn't expecting the pain in my chest. (19.129)

    This scene calls to mind the raw, gaping hole in Bella's chest in New Moon. Stephenie Meyer's heroines are nothing if not acutely in tune with their emotions and the extreme pain they cause.

    "Even if you're not there, [Mel], if you can't hear me. I love you." (30.7)

    Jared's love for Melanie is complicated by the fact that her body still exists, but she's not in control of it. It's like a less-gross version of a zombie movie. How do you deal with your feelings when the person you love isn't herself any longer? Things are further complicated by the fact that Melanie exists in there somewhere. Wanda can act as an interpreter for Jared's feelings, like Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost, but Jared has to trust that Wanda's telling the truth.

    "I, the soul called Wanderer, love you, human Ian. And that will never change, no matter what I might become." (56.88)

    Aww! Inter-species love has never been more heart-warming.

  • Foreignness and The Other

    "The humans kill us happily whenever they have the ability to do so." (2.43)

    The Seekers attitudes show that fear of the Other doesn't just apply to the humans. The aliens are just as scared of the humans as the humans are of them. Fortunately (or unfortunately), they're a little more effective at capturing and killing us.

    This mind used more of my faculties than any host before, leaving me only one hundred eighty-one spare attachments. (3.26)

    Right off the bat, Wanda realizes that humans are going to be a little different than the other species she has encountered. This line also shows how foreign Wanda is to us. How many attachments does this weird alien thing have, and, uh, where is she going to attach the rest of them?

    The monsters who look like a nice couple in their early fifties. (4.8)

    We can only imagine the paranoia that gripped the world when the aliens first started populating. Their existence turned neighbors into "others," fracturing the community and turning everyone against each other. Nice old Mrs. Sweetoldladyface down the street might not be inviting you over tea; she might be inviting you over to kill you and implant her spawn in your brain. Yikes.

    [The humans] were barbarians, monsters. They hung over us, slavering for blood. (13.26)

    Wanda's attitude toward the humans mirrors their attitude toward her perfectly, reinforcing the point that each group sees the other as a dangerous threat. Sounds like Thanksgiving chez Shmoop! (We kid, we kid.)

    Humans were deceitful, treacherous creatures. I couldn't anticipate their darker agendas when such things were unthinkable to my species. (23.63)

    Things like deceit and treachery are foreign to Wanda's species. But not to humans. Maybe Wanda is right to fear us.

    Were twenty-nine rattlesnakes afraid of a lone field mouse? (25.5)

    The humans are so different to Wanda that she sees them as predators. The funny thing is that she can't realize that they view her and her kind as the snakes.

    It brought to mind one of Melanie's memories: three puppies rolling on the grass, yapping furiously and baring their teeth as if their only desire was to rip out their brothers' throats. (37.12)

    As an outsider, Wanda has a difficult time separating the human species from other mammals. The friendly fighting of Ian and Kyle confuses her even further. (We admit, watching brothers fight is a lot like watching puppies.)

    "You!" Sharon spit, and then she launched herself from her crouch. Like a cat, she sprang at Jared, nails reaching for his face. (45.137)

    Once again we see humans acting as animals. Here, Wanda describes Sharon as particularly animalistic. Wanda's outside perspective makes us wonder what other qualities we humans share with animals, and what sets us apart.

    [Ian] laughed at the wrong parts, the parts that were supposed to be touching. (47.65)

    Ian doesn't understand the souls' value for peace and cooperation. When Ian sees these values in their movies and TV shows, he thinks it's funny. Talk about culture gap.

    "Look at them all! A vile nest of killers, lurking in wait!" (49.129)

    This quote shows how the Seeker views the humans, as though they're actively plotting to kill the aliens, even though they're not exactly equipped to do that—and even though the humans are much more likely to be hunted down and killed by the aliens than the other way around.

  • Community

    How can I not trust another human completely? We're family—both part of the brotherhood of extinction. (4.97)

    Wanda's species, they all get along perfectly with one another. The human race? Not so much. Melanie has to be fearful when she encounters Jared for the first time. Even though she's human, and there aren't many of them left, she still has to be wary.

    "Human hosts need interaction." (6.17)

    The souls take on a lot of traits from their hosts. With humans, it's the need to socialize. On other planets, we get the feeling that Wanda and her kind lived a mostly solitary existence. But on Earth, they're having to actually interact with one another or face betrayal by their own bodies. Humans have a biological need to live in communities, and the aliens have to obey it.

    My first language [...] had no word for betrayal or traitor. Or even loyalty—because without the existence of an opposite, the concept had no meaning. (9.115)

    Wanderer's species exists in perfect harmony. It's sickeningly sweet. Only when they end up in the bodies of lying, cheating humans do they start to learn the meanings of these words and feel the fissures developing in their community. (Guess they got more than they bargained for with us.)

    There are no strangers among my kind. (10.40)

    Life on Wanderer's home planet must be like one giant Cheers bar, where everybody knows your name. We have to wonder if there are any shy or introverted members of her species, because if so, they might not like everyone being all up in their business.

    There are millions of us, all working together in perfect harmony toward our goal. (11.81)

    The souls tread that fine line between idyllic and creepy, but why is it creepy? Murder and discord are so normal to us their absence makes things seem downright strange.

    "It's mighty nice to have a community again. Makes me feel downright human." (17.26)

    Just as the Comforter tells Wanda, the human species needs community. Jeb thrives on it, too, but he doesn't seem to realize how much his human community mimics the community of the souls. Both are working together in harmony, operating without money, and sharing everything. The humans just fight a little more than the souls do. Plus, Jeb gets to be the dictator.

    Heidi was trying to find a [hair] style for me, flipping the strands this way and that. (30.73)

    These small interactions help initiate Wanda into human lifestyle (maybe by regressing to her pre-teen years). They start treating her as they would a friend, not as an alien inhabiting a human's body.

    Walter was my friend, not [Melanie's]. I was the one he'd defended. (30.133)

    Wanda feels like part of the community when Walter stands up for her. Not for Melanie, her human host, but for her, no matter what species she is.

    "Wanda is one of our community—the same rules and protections apply to her as to any of us." (35.101)

    Notice that there's no class system in the cave-dwelling human community. Well, there's Jeb, then there's everyone else.

    "Perhaps someday, some of my kind and some of yours will live in peace." (47.87)

    Wanda's grand hope is that the souls and the humans will be able to live together. What would that society look like? Could the two species ever trust each other enough to live as neighbors?

  • Family

    "I saw in your file that you have the potential for Motherhood. If you gave yourself to be a Mother, at least all that would not be entirely wasted." (7.88)

    Here we see that alien ideals of motherhood line up pretty well with human ideals of motherhood. A creature of Wanda's species must literally give her life to be a mother. Melanie, who sees Jamie as a son just as much as a brother, would give her life to save him. Good thing she was implanted with Wanda (well, as good as alien implantations go), since Wanda would do the same thing.

    It seems like Jamie and I have been with Jared every bit as long as we were alone. (8.130)

    Even though they've only been together a few weeks at this point, Melanie and Jamie see Jared as family, just like that moment when you meet someone and feel like you've known them forever. Priceless.

    Jamie. Our brother! (13.3)

    This is one of the few instances where Wanda speaks in first-person plural voice. She considers Jamie her brother just as much as Melanie does, even though Wanda and Jamie aren't related at all by blood. They're not even the same species!

    Did [Jamie] have someone to sing to him at night? To tell him stories? (15.63)

    Wanda develops a motherly instinct about Jamie, even though he's a little too old for lullabies and bedtime stories. As though he's her child, he'll always be a little boy in her eyes. (Are we allowed to roll our eyes a little?)

    My reaction was instantaneous and unthinking. I skittered to one side of the tunnel, sweeping Jamie along with one arm so that I was between him and whatever was coming for me. (20.125)

    When Jamie is in danger, Wanda's maternal instinct kicks in automatically. This instance is kind of like when your mom stops the car suddenly and puts her arm in front of you even though you're wearing a seat belt. Whether you need protection or not (in this case, Jamie doesn't) your mom (or the alien who thinks she's your mother) is there to provide it, unconditionally.

    The mysterious bond of mother and child [...] was not a mystery to me any longer. There was no bond greater than one that required your life for another's. (21.115)

    Hm, this sounds a lot like the bond between alien and host, to us. And it makes us think about the way Renesmee is, like, literally killing Bella in Breaking Dawn. Think Stephenie has some issues around motherhood?

    [Motherhood is] a choice. A voluntary choice. [...] It's the only way we ever willingly choose to die. A trade, for a new generation. (34.46)

    Later, Wanda willingly chooses to die to bring Melanie back. In that way, she's like a mother to Melanie, sacrificing herself so that Melanie can be reborn.

    I would have gone into that room again for Jamie, even it was still reeking of blood. (41.124)

    Wanda is so attached to Jamie that he's more family to her than her own species is. She's willing to go in to Doc's room and comfort Jamie, even though some of her own kind were just slaughtered in there.

    We were a family in that one instant. All of us. (45.68)

    Until this point, Wanda hasn't felt part of Melanie and Jared's family. Now that Jared finally trusts her, she feels accepted.

    "She has not given [the baby] up for a host." (47.81)

    In a park, Ian, Wanda, and Jared see an unexpected development in the human/soul relationship: a soul-possessed mother caring for a human baby. This blended inter-species family shows that there is hope for co-existence between species on Earth. We can only imagine the therapy bills when the child grows older.

  • Compassion and Forgiveness

    Because he was a soul, by nature he was all things good: compassionate, patient, honest, virtuous, and full of love. (Prologue.1)

    The souls like to think they're all compassionate and benevolent, but how compassionate can they be when they stop around the galaxy, killing indiscriminately, and taking over body after body?

    No one could compare what had been and what was now and not admit that Earth was better thanks to us. (5.96)

    This is interesting logic on Wanderer's part. Is the planet better off? It's not as though the aliens are going on doing all sorts of deeds for the benefit of the planet. They're acting exactly like the humans do, except without the murder and violence.

    Can you see how we thought we might be able to do better, though? (11.98)

    Wanda might be compassionate, but she's hardly empathetic. As evidenced by this question early in the novel, she's trying to get Melanie to realize that it was a good idea for her entire race to be wiped out. Um, we think that's going to be a pretty hard sell.

    "That's twice," [Ian] growled, and I understood that the punch meant for me had been diverted by Ian's interference. (19.7)

    Ian doesn't yet realize why he's defending Wanderer at this point. We're not sure either. Does he feel guilty that someone's trying to hit a girl, or is he starting to care for what's on the inside?

    "Her name is Wanda, not it." (29.24)

    Now we know exactly why he's defending Wanda. Ian develops compassion for her, for who she really is, and stands up for her to his own friends.

    To be filled with so much hate that you could not even rejoice in the healing of a child... How did anyone ever come to that point? (46.37)

    Sharon illustrates the exact opposite of compassion and forgiveness. She can't put aside her issues with Wanda even when Wanda saves the life of her nephew. In fact, she hasn't apologized to Wanda by the time the book ends. (Maybe in part two.)

    What an extraordinarily stupid way to waste time. (50.91)

    Wanda is talking about being consumed by hatred and never forgiving someone who's done you wrong. And, well, she has a point.

    The souls were wrong to be here. My humans deserved their world. I could not give it back to them, but I could give them this. (51.46)

    You might say that Wanda is compassionate to a fault. She feels for the humans so much, that she's willing to kill herself to bring Melanie back. She also tells them the secret that could turn the tables back in the human's favor, betraying her own race.

    "I'm sorry. [...] For trying to kill you," [Kyle] said casually. "Guess I was wrong." (57.134-57.136)

    This is something we never thought we'd see: Kyle apologizing. Well, it's not like it seems particularly heartfelt, or anything.

    "I held you in my hand, Wanderer. And you were so beautiful." (59.98)

    Here we see the pinnacle of Ian's compassion. He holds Wanda's true form and still finds her beautiful. No offense to Wanda, but this is like if you became really good friends with a cockroach (and not the cute one from Wall-e) and found it beautiful.

  • Life, Consciousness, and Existence

    "The human life span is much shorter than you're used to." (3.43)

    Wanda knows that humans aren't the only ones out there. She learns from her time on Earth that humans burn bright and fast. And they give a lovely light.

    You never know how much time you'll have. (8.135)

    Before coming to Earth, Wanda wasn't really concerned with death. Her species' existence can be prolonged indefinitely as long as there's another host to be transferred into. But once she decides to stay human, her actions hold more consequence.

    "It's a big universe, and there's a lot of company out there." (21.94)

    Wanda teaches the humans about all the different life forms she's encountered. However, the basic moral of this story is this: humans are the best! That's why Wanda decides to stay one. Sweet. We love a story that confirms our awesomeness.

    "Ought to know more about the universe—not to mention the new tenants of our planet." (25.45)

    Jeb encourages Wanda to tell stories about her other lives. These stories help the humans learn about the existence of life on other planets and provide them with knowledge that might help in the event of another alien invasion. Better to be safe than sorry.

    "As long as we have a healthy host, we can live forever." (25.111)

    Wanda takes her alternate lives-style for granted. Her species treats bodies like we treat automobiles. Getting tired of your old clunker? Upgrade to a newer, younger, faster model.

    Look, I'm human. It's hard to be fair sometimes. We don't always feel the right thing, do the right thing. (30.23)

    Melanie sums up human existence fairly succinctly here. It's a series of choices, some right, some wrong. We have to live with them either way.

    "You could live forever if you left us." (38.95)

    Wanda no longer wants to exist as a parasite. She wants to adopt a human lifestyle, even if it means she will eventually die. Of course, that's not necessarily true, now that she's taught Doc how to transfer souls on his own. And what about the girl whose body she takes at the end?

    "We have a greater range of good and bad in us than you do. [...] We value the individual. We probably put too much emphasis on the individual, if it comes right down to it." (41.58)

    This might be the biggest difference between humans and Wanda's species. Wanda's species values the community above all. They co-exist in near-perfect harmony. Conversely, while humans have communities (and need them to survive) the wants and needs of an individual have the power to tear communities apart.

    Laughter was like a fresh breeze—it cleaned its way through the body, making everything feel good. Did other species have such a simple healer? (50.74)

    Here's another reason that Wanda decides to stay human: the power of laughter. Despite tears and pain, there's always laughter and love to get us through difficult times. (We think we read that on a card somewhere.)

    "It's a strange world." (Epilogue.118)

    This line is one of the last in the book. We also chose it as our quote in our yearbook. (Don't judge; we were only 17.)

  • Memory and the Past

    This was not a memory. My body—she was thinking! Speaking to me! (1.26-1.27)

    Wanda ends up being affected by Melanie's memories and Melanie's past. Were it not for Melanie's strong memories, Wanderer wouldn't know a thing about Jared or Jamie, and we'd have a completely different plot to the book. It'd probably be shorter, too.

    It is too dark to be so hot, or maybe too hot to be so dark. (4.1)

    This is the first line of one of Melanie's memories. It's in present tense, unlike Wanderer's narration, which is always in past tense. The tense shift serves to show how intense Melanie's memories are, as though Wanda is reliving a moment that she never even lived the first time through.

    I could not separate myself from this body's wants. […] Did I want or did it want? Did that distinction even matter now? (9.118)

    Melanie's memories have become Wanda's, and there's no way to separate them. That's why Wanda asks if the distinction even matters. Wherever these memories came from, they're hers now. They'll affect her actions and her feelings forever.

    "Remembering [Jared] the way [Melanie] does... that's a powerful thing." (36.74)

    Wanda loves Jared only because Melanie does. If Melanie hadn't chosen to reveal her memories of Jared to Wanda, Wanda probably wouldn't love him. (Especially not after he punches her in the face.)

    "Let's finish this, Wanderer. Lives in the Stars. Rides the Beast." (51.161)

    Wanderer's past lives have left her with a variety of experiences, and a variety of names. She's able to use the experiences she's had on other planets for the benefit of the human race. (We'd like to hear about the Rides the Beast experience.)

    "The... person who used to be in your body was afraid of humans. She was a soul, remember that? And then remember before that, before she was there? You were human then, and you are again." (54.75)

    When Wanda tries to explain to a newly awoken human what's going on, she's taking on the role of Comforter to a human. And notice that the key thing here is to help the human remember.

    "I used to dream about [Kyle] all the time." (55.121)

    Like Wanda, Sunny is affected by Jodi's memories of Kyle. Since Jodi actually cared for Kyle (unlike everyone else who mostly can't stand the jerk), Sunny is sympathetic toward him as well. She sees him as a big strong protector and can't leave his side.

    The face in the memory jerked me back to myself. That was my face! But I didn't remember this... (59.7)

    When Wanda and Melanie are separated, Wanda has to deal with the fact that she's not looking at herself in a mirror; she's looking at Melanie, who is now a separate being. Talk about an out-of-body experience. It has to be weird seeing the body you inhabited in the past operating independently of you... kind of like Melanie felt when Wanda first took over her.

    Wasn't I Petals Open to the Moon? (59.30)

    We get to experience the disorientation of being put into a new body first-hand when Wanda goes through the body transfer process herself. It's even more confusing the second time around, because she has a previous soul's memories to deal with.

    I'd inherited a lot of things from Petals Open to the Moon, and not all of them were pleasant. (Epilogue.3)

    Once again, Wanderer has to cope with traumas and tragedies that she never even lived through. And this is why we keep coming back to science fiction.

  • Prejudice

    Humans were brutish and ungovernable. They had killed one another so frequently that murder had been an accepted part of life. (5.96)

    The souls fall into the common trap of taking the actions of few and blaming an entire species for it. Not all humans are murderers. At least—not directly.

    "Not anymore she's not," Kyle said flatly. He spit again and took another deliberate step in my direction. (13.52)

    Kyle takes the actions of few (okay, well, most) and applies it to an entire species. Hmm, we're beginning to see parallels between the two species here...

    "You won't fool us, you parasite." (13.66)

    Aunt Maggie uses an epithet to describe Wanda's species. Note that Wanda's species never calls humans "meatbags" or any other cruel name. (Well, besides "murderers.") It's only the other way around. Are the humans justified in calling the aliens names?

    "The centipedes don't sacrifice their own that way." (13.74)

    Jeb might not be trying to be cruel here, but he still refers to Wanda's entire species using insect terminology. At this stage, however, he's just ignorant as to how their society works.

    How does a three-inch-long worm fall in love with a human being? (15.51)

    Once again, insect terminology, this time used by Melanie even though she's kind of gotten to know Wanderer by this point. Using epithets like this makes the person using them feel superior and the person they're used against feel inferior—even though in this case Wanderer's species is now dominant. Calling her "worm" brings her down to the humans' level.

    Those lunatic humans were going to attack one of their own. (15.87)

    Many times Wanda sees the humans acting in concert, as though they make decisions strictly through a mob mentality or a hive mind. Maybe she thinks this way because her own species operates in a similar manner—or maybe she understands how hive-like humans can be.

    "What are we going to do with it? We can't keep watch on it around the clock." (16.65)

    Jared dehumanizes Wanderer by calling her "it." To be fair, she's not actually a human. Not yet, anyway.

    "She's not an animal, either, kid. And you wouldn't treat a dog this way." (18.38)

    We're not sure if this argument would work on Kyle. If Jodi were eaten by rabid dogs, Kyle would probably kick every dog that he saw. Even the little cute ones.

    "Nobody minds it when you wash their clothes or bake their bread." (28.58)

    This isn't sound logic on Jamie's part. A lot of people didn't mind having slaves wash their clothes and bake their bread. That doesn't mean that they actually liked the slaves, or thought they deserved equality.

    They were humans. Violence was pleasure to them. (40.83)

    At this point in the book, we'd figure Wanda would be beyond blanket generalizations, but the humans keep proving themselves to be violent creatures. Are some stereotypes true?

  • Exile

    I saw myself now at the bottom of a deep shaft or walled into a cramped tomb. (15.12)

    When the humans capture Wanderer, they immediately put her into solitary confinement. The aliens have forced them into a hole underground, and by goodness the humans are going to do the same thing to Wanda!

    We're fugitives, an endangered species. (16.56)

    Living in a cave, the humans are having to live like they did in caveman days: afraid of predators. Except now it isn't mammoths and sabre-tooth tigers; it's aliens wearing their bodies. That's a lot scarier than a cuddly mammoth. At least you can eat the mammoth.

    "With no hiding place, we're all dead, right?" (17.5)

    When living in imposed exile, a good hiding place is a must. Even better if it comes stocked with Cheetos and Keebler fudge cookies.

    It was a very long day—very cramped and very dull (18.7)

    Not only is Wanderer imprisoned in a tiny cave, she's not allowed much social interaction either. And as we've learned from all our talk about community, humans need companionship.

    My prison was a sensory deprivation chamber. (18.50)

    This prison is pretty much the worst. Wanderer has been put inside a human host to experience the world, and all she gets to experience is a cold, dark, cave. Plus, a soul's existence without a host is absolute sensory deprivation. In the prison hole, Wanda might as well not even have a body.

    I felt my way back to my prison hole. (27.1)

    When Wanda encounters something about the humans that she doesn't like, she willing exiles herself. That's a nice (or not-so-nice) physical reminder that she doesn't fit in with the rest of them.

    I sat in the blackness of the big hole in the ground and grieved for lost souls with a human at my side. (40.142)

    Here's another instance of Wanda willingly trying to exile herself from the humans. Ian, however, won't let her be by herself, no matter how hard she tries. Give a soul some space, dude!

    I was surrounded, outnumbered. I imagined what this might feel like for Jared. (44.49)

    Here, Wanda realizes that she's an exile from her own community. She's now identified herself with the humans, so she has to pretend to be normal around others of her species. She's passing, and it's not fun.

    "The Flowers are the farthest, and the Dolphins, Bears, and Spiders all take at least a century to go one way." (53.45)

    Without a host body, a soul is effectively in exile, unable to communicate with anything. Wanda wants to make sure they send the removed souls to a galaxy far, far away so they're not able to tattle on the humans. Or bring Jabba the Hutt back with them.

    "I'm sorry, Sunny, but I have to send you far away." (55.136)

    Sunny, the soul living inside of Kyle's girlfriend Jodi, is scared to be sent into space. She's only lived one other life, and prefers the human one, so this fate would be the worst kind of exile. We're not too crazy about this ending. Can't they find another body for her?