Study Guide

Legend Mortality

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My mother thinks I'm dead.

Obviously, I'm not dead, but it's safer for her to think so. (1.1.1-2)

Day has to make some pretty difficult decisions while he's on the run from the government. He has to let his mother grieve his loss and death instead of putting her in danger. Is it worth it in the end?

No matter how sharp my intuition is, no matter how well I do at Drake or how perfectly I score in defense and target practice and hand-to-hand combat, Metias's eyes always hold that fear. He's afraid something might happen to me one day—like the car crash that took our parents. (1.2.52)

Death is never far off in the Republic—Metias knows that more than anyone since he has figured out the true cause of their parents' death. He knows that people can be killed for any infraction.

I fight hard to breathe. A second confirmation of Metias's death. "Yes, Commander," I manage to say. (1.4.48)

Metias was all the family that June had left, and losing him has completely shattered her life. She can't even breathe when they tell her that he's been killed.

"After the eruptions," he said, "white volcanic ash rained from the sky for months. The dead and dying were covered in it. So now to wear white is to remember the dead." (1.6.4)

The funeral practices in the Republic have certainly changed from how they were in America back in the day.

"Not yet," John replies. "We have to brace ourselves for the worst, Mom. In case Eden…" (1.13.42)

Poor Eden's been infected by the plague that the government is snooping around. He's just another poor kid for them to experiment on… and then toss away.

"They injected something into one of my eyes that stung like wasp poison. They also cut up my knee. With a scalpel. Then they force-fed me some kind of medicine, and the next thing I knew… I was lying in a hospital basement with a bunch of other corpses. But I wasn't dead." (2.4.39)

Day definitely doesn't have fond memories of his times after the Trial. That was when he realized the truth of what the Republic does to kids who fail the Trial—they all die. No exceptions. We'll gladly take the SATs any day…

I scan the scene of blood and bodies and prisoners. There are 97, 98 dead. No, at least 120. Hundreds more are in custody. I can't even concentrate enough to count them. (2.6.28)

Any dissent is obviously completely discouraged in the Republic. This means that when rioters start to protest Day's execution, they all get herded into one area and killed. Should Day feel responsible about their deaths, or is their blood all on the Republic's hands?

"Ah, there's the announcement now." Thomas glances back to the movie screen and points at the commercial that comes on. "We're moving up Day's execution time." (2.14.26)

Thomas is so blasé about people dying. He just looks up from his popcorn and talks about how they're going to kill someone that night. He definitely doesn't care about Day's life or the fact that he has people who love him.

The onlookers in the square will gasp and shriek—sometimes in delight—when the shooting happens. And the Republic will be happy that they've made an example out of another criminal. (2.15.2)

Executions have become somewhat of a spectator sport. The Republic does this so that citizens witness firsthand what happens to traitors: they die.

The firing squad quickly files out. Two soldiers pick up the boy's body and take him away to the cremation chambers.

My hands start to shake.

The boy is John.

After his harrowing escape, Day's suffering doesn't end. He has to watch—in vivid detail—the death of his older brother by firing squad. The Republic just doesn't stop with the bloodshed.

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