Study Guide

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) Chapter 2

By Patrick Ness

Chapter 2

Prentisstown

  • Todd and Manchee head back to Prentisstown. He has to take a minute to calm down—the excitement has made his Noise go crazy. He's been taught a trick to help in moments like this: If he says his name over and over, the Noise settles down.
  • Apparently, the Noise makes people forget who they are. The Noise sounds pretty rough, right?
  • Todd tells us some more about his world. Nobody goes to school, because the Noise is so loud that they can't learn. (Also, since everyone can hear each other's thoughts, test taking is kind of a moot point.)
  • When the mayor made the rule against going to school, the schoolteacher shot himself. Yikes.
  • Instead of school, Ben (whose kind of his foster father), taught Todd useful life and survival skills. He also tried to teach him how to read, but the Mayor found out and locked Ben up for a week.
  • Prentisstown's population is slowly declining, partly because there aren't any women, and partly because men become so miserable that they kill themselves.
  • We get a little sample of what it's like to hear all these peoples' Noise, and it ain't pretty—though it does look cool, since it features different fonts and word sizes and phrases spread across the page. Unfortunately, many of the phrases have to do with talking to God or thinking suicidal thoughts.
  • Todd points out that men lie, even though there isn't a point, since everyone can hear each other's thoughts. They lie to themselves, trying to change their reality.
  • Todd and Manchee walk through town to get home. They meet Mr. Phelps, who owns the store.
  • Todd is trying to think louder about other things so that no one can hear him thinking about the hole in the Noise—he has a feeling it should be kept a secret.
  • Todd walks past the church and explains that it's the reason that everyone ended up in this New World. They wanted to get away from the old ways of sin and start fresh. (Which clearly isn't working.)
  • Aaron is the preacher at church and his tagline is "if one of us falls, we all fall" (2.26). So, um, watch your step, we guess. The prayer Noise sounds like bleeding as people ask God to save them; Todd thinks it's a bunch of nonsense.
  • After the church they walk past the mayor's house. The mayor believes that order can be brought to the Noise and people suspect that he's working on some sort of Noise weapon.
  • Todd avoids walking in front of the mayor's house, despite the fact that he says "I will be a man soon, and men do not run in fear" (2.55).