Study Guide

Matched Rules and Order

By Ally Condie

Rules and Order

Following the rules, staying safe. Those are the things that matter. (12.34)

The very thing everyone says right before they break the rules, right? We're guessing that in a couple chapters Cassia throws this totally out the window. But the Society has ingrained these values so deeply into her and others that it's rare that anyone steps out of line.

My father sometimes bends the rules for those he loves. (17.43)

It's interesting that Cassia also doesn't start bending the rules until she falls in love. And even then, it's her love for her family that keeps her from jumping headfirst into rebellion. Why are we more likely to bend rules for those we love than for ourselves?

You think there's nothing here because we're not putting up a fight. But there are words in our heads that no one else knows. And my grandfather died on his terms, not yours. We have things of value but you can never find them because you don't even know how to look. (18.65)

Okay, we're going to get philosophical here for a moment—does an act of rebellion count if who you're rebelling against is unaware (and likely always will be)? Cassia thinks that tiny acts of rebellion within a person can be super important for their identity and sanity.

I feel disgust when I think of how we climb our little hills when the Officials say the word. How we hand over our most precious items at their bidding. How we never, ever fight. (19.17)

It's true that most citizens are blindly following all the rules without a second thought. But is it true no one ever fights back? Or are there other small ways in which people in the society are rebelling?

I think of him risking everything each time he slips one napkin into his pocket. All these years he's been so careful, but now he's willing to take a chance. Because he's found someone who wants to know. Someone he wants to tell. (19.60)

Most acts of rebellion in Matched are motivated by love. Without love, would there be a reason to rebel? Cassia, Grandfather, Ky, and Cassia's father all rebel out of love, even when they risk their own self-preservation.

Even if the fall of our Society would make life better for some, it would make it worse for others. (21.61)

If rebelling against the rules and order of the Society would have a negative impact on the lives of some, do Cassia and others have the right to make this choice for them? We wonder if freedom is always the right answer at all costs, or if some may choose safety instead.

I know. I cannot go gently now. Not even for the sake of my parents, my family. (21.79)

Just like Grandfather, who could not go gently on Society's terms, Cassia, armed with new knowledge rooted in his parting gift, can no longer live according to Society's terms. It's one thing to fall in line when you know no other option, but quite another to fall in line when you know what else is out there.

The maple trees have become too much of a problem. The leaves get too messy in the fall. They're not growing uniformly […] And some of them have diseases, so they all need to be chopped down. (23.14)

They may just be maple trees, but this is a pattern throughout the book—any lack of uniformity or divergence from the norm is a threat to the system and must be quashed. Think: Aberrations, red tablets, the fighting in the Outer Provinces.

"We can also guarantee a high quality of life up until the very last breath. Do you know how many miserable people in how many miserable societies over the years would have given almost anything for that?" (30.87)

Cassia's Official offers a hint as to why all the rules came to be—a high quality of life. Is this life, where there are no dangerous people, diseases, or real threats to a person's well being, high quality? Cassia starts her journey believing wholeheartedly that it is, but as soon as she sees the other option, she changes her mind.

My father has always broken the rules for those he loves, just as my mother has always kept them for the same reason. (31.104)

Cassia's parents protect their family in different ways. Is one easier than the other? Is it disingenuous to follow rules you don't agree with in order to protect those you love? Cassia thinks her mother is brave to do so.

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