Study Guide

The Masks a.k.a. the Gondwannans in The Ear, the Eye, the Arm

By Nancy Farmer

The Masks a.k.a. the Gondwannans

Let's face it: There are a lot of bad guys in the book—but the Masks take the cake. Early on, we get filled in on who the Gondwannans are:

The Gondwannans were everybody's bogeymen. They were blamed for everything from locusts to headaches. Zimbabwe had signed a peace treaty with them years before, but it seemed no one could let bygones be bygones. (2.30)

The trouble with the Gondwannans is that their bad behavior isn't exactly "bygone." They are secretly the Masks, roaming around town stealing children to use as sacrifices for their ancient spirit worship. So it's not tough to hate these guys for anyone, and it's especially for us when they steal Tendai.

It's important to note, however, that when it comes to their supernatural beliefs, they have some key things in common with Tendai. Both involve some kind of ancient spirits and worship—it's just that the Masks don't mind hurting people in the process of worshiping their spirits. That's a big no-no.

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