Study Guide

Matched Choices

By Ally Condie

Choices

"He didn't want them to be able to bring him back. He wanted to choose what happened to him."

"But you had a choice, too," I whisper, angry. "You didn't have to do it." (12.30-31)

Grandfather wanted to choose his own destiny rather than have his future dictated by the Society. As we see throughout the book, when someone wants to make a choice to diverge from the rules, the people they love also have to make a choice about whether to support them.

Being with Ky, being with Xander—both things feel like standing in the light. Different types of light, but neither feels dark. (16.67)

Cassia's big choice is whether to be with Xander or Ky. It's a harder choice than most she makes because instead of choosing between what's right and what's wrong, she feels like she's choosing between two right answers.

It was as though for the first time I saw that life could branch into different paths, take different directions. (16.96)

This is an enlightening moment for Cassia. It's not until the error with her microcard that it even occurs to her that she has choices to make—she's never considered doing anything other than exactly what she's told before this.

Saving the compact would be selfish. It would only save a thing. Saving Ky's artifact saves […] him from becoming an anomaly. (18.27)

Until Ky, Cassia always chose the selfish, safe option—self-preservation was always a priority for her. But when it comes to Ky, she chooses to look out for his best interests instead of her own.

It is one thing to make a choice and it is another thing to never have the chance. […] What would it be like […] to know that you could never choose anything else? (21.75)

Despite the lack of choices in Cassia's life, she's grateful for her relatively high position in Society and few choices she has. What would it be like to have such a low status that you have no choice in anything that happens to you?

"I think people should be able to choose who they Match with," I say lamely.

"Where would it end, Cassia?" she says, her voice patient. "Would you say next that people should be able to choose how many children they have, and where they want to live? Or when they want to die?" (22.40-41)

Cassia's Official suggests that choices that are pretty normal to all of us are totally crazypants in the Society. The way she says it, the idea of being able to choose any of these things seems as ridiculous to them as being able to choose our own birth parents seems to us.

The two desires struggle within me: the desire to be safe, and the desire to know. I cannot tell which one will win. (23.34)

In case you hadn't already figured it out by this point, Cassia foreshadows here the other big choice she's going to have to make—following the rules and staying safe versus risking the lives of herself and her family in a fight to have choices.

I sort Ky into the higher group and close the datapod as if the decision has cost me nothing at all.

[…]

I hope I made the right choice. (26.73-75)

Again Cassia has to choose between her selfish desire to keep Ky close to her, and the possibility of a better life for him. She hates having to play god and make decisions that affect other people's lives.

I feel like something is dying, ruined beyond repair. If the Officials orchestrated our whole love affair, the one thing I thought happened in spite of them… (27.94)

This is a pretty mind-blowing moment for Cassia. The one choice she thought she'd actually made of her own accord—to be with Ky—turns out not to have been a choice at all. Cassia is naturally quite devastated to learn that even when she believes she is acting of her own volition, she's still being manipulated by the Officials and Society.

"He should be the one who decides whether to go or stay. Not me. Not you. Let him choose."

"If we did, everything would fall apart," she says patiently. "Why do you think we can guarantee such long life spans?" (30.84-85)

Silly Cassia—not having choices makes everyone happier… Right? Wrong, according to Cassia. It makes us wonder though: Would Cassia and others really be wiling to sacrifice their health and longevity to increase their free will, or are they wanting to pick and choose which aspects of the Society they want to keep and which to eliminate?

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