Study Guide

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) Chapter 16

By Patrick Ness

Chapter 16

The Night of No Apologies

  • Over dinner, everyone explains a bit to Todd about travelling from the Old to the New World. It takes years to do it, and some people don't survive. Viola is actually sixty-four, and she was born on the ship. It's dangerous to travel, and they freeze you for a lot of the time, which explains why she looks so young.
  • Todd wonders why people would put themselves through so much just to get to a place they know nothing about, so Hildy explains that the Old World is full of war and hatred.
  • They stop the conversation when Viola starts getting worked up over thinking about her parents.
  • Tam and Hildy insist that they'll take Todd and Viola to the settlement, called Farbranch, first thing in the morning.
  • Todd and Viola have a spat after dinner. Viola is angry about the Noise she's been hearing in Todd—all the stuff about her being empty and silent—and he retorts that he can't know what he's supposed to feel about her because she doesn't make any Noise.
  • Hildy breaks it up and insists that they're so tired that they've started to fight.
  • Before they fall asleep, Viola asks Todd what the book tells them to do once they reach the settlement. Todd is defensive about her barging into his personal life, though so he storms out of the room. When he eventually falls asleep, he has a nightmare involving Prentisstown, his family, the Mayor, and Viola's campfire box. He wakes up from it in a sweat.
  • The next morning, Todd and Viola have breakfast and get ready to leave without saying a word to each other.
  • Hildy tells them to follow the road, which originally ran between Prentisstown and Farbranch, which actually used to be called New Elizabeth. In his usual charming way, Todd shoots her down, insisting that it was never called New Elizabeth.
  • As they get close to the town, they start hearing Noise and passing men—and women—working on orchards outside the town. Todd is thrown off by their noise. It's all pleasant small talk, and not angry or awful to listen to at all.
  • In a moment, the whole town is buzzing with the word "Prentisstown," which they've picked out from Todd's noise. Hildy insists that it's just curiosity. Which they might have believed until a man stops them in the middle of the road with a large knife, telling Todd that he is not welcome.