Study Guide

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) Chapter 17

By Patrick Ness

Chapter 17

Encounter in an Orchard

  • Hildy challenges this man, named Matthew, by insisting that they be allowed to pass. Matthew, who is large and intimidating, is red with anger and cites their town law, which apparently doesn't allow men of Prentisstown into Farbranch. And no, he doesn't care that Todd is technically not of age yet.
  • Hildy defends Todd. She tells Matthew that he's running away, just like he one did himself.
  • Matthew turns to question Viola, and before he knows what's happening, Todd is between them, brandishing his knife and ordering Matthew to leave her alone.
  • A bigger shock: Matthew begins to cry like a baby. He whines to Hildy that all the bad stuff is supposed to be over. Again, though, they refuse to give Todd details.
  • Hildy explains the fruit that's being gathered in the orchard, which they trade with other settlements. Todd argues that all the other settlements were destroyed in the war, and Hildy is silent. You guys, we're thinking that the world is not as Todd's been told. Like, not by a long shot.
  • They also mention a settlement called Haven, which is apparently the largest and original settlement. Kind of like a capital.
  • Apparently, most people like to live in small areas near their friends, so they only have the Noise of people they love around them. They also say it's kind of bad manners to listen to other people's Noise so much.
  • They walk through the town streets and see men, women, and the first children that Todd has ever seen. They stop at the Mayor's house and Hildy greets Francia, who is both the mayor and Hildy's sister.
  • Francia asks Hildy what trouble she's bringing into the town. And by trouble, she doesn't mean Todd and Viola—she means the army that's after them.