Study Guide

Connor Lassiter in Unwind

By Neal Schusterman

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Connor Lassiter

Trouble in Paradise (a.k.a. Akron, Ohio)

Connor, our main protagonist, is a troublemaker from the first page to the last—he just learns to cause the right kind of trouble along the way.

At the beginning he's "a marked kid" (1.1.3), a sixteen-year-old who knows that he's going to be unwound. Why are his parents going to unwind him (and then go on vacation without him)? It seems to be simply because they're tired of dealing with his impulsive, troublemaking ways. He doesn't even seem to be a bad kid really, just one who acts out, maybe out of boredom or simple stupidity, not malice. Connor just isn't that tough—he says he "might act like the bad boy at school" (1.1.7), but when it comes to running away, he's not sure if he can do it.

As for running away, Connor's motivated by sheer desperation, brought on by a double dose of disappointment and betrayal. First his parents sign him up to be unwound, and then his girlfriend, Ariana, says she'll run away with him but decides not to at the last minute. Ugh.

On the Lam(b)

Connor's last name, Lassiter, is an Americanized version of Leicester, which, amongst other things, refers to sheep. Connor isn't exactly a follower, but he will never be accused of being the brains of any operation. We're told flat-out that "thinking ahead has never been one of Connor's strong points" (1.1.67), like when he almost dies to save Lev, a boy who doesn't even want to be saved. And when Connor takes the baby, even he acknowledges he has three modes: "Fight, Flight, and Screw Up Royally" (2.11.52). That's Connor in a nutshell.

He succeeds best at irritating others, like when he employs his trademark "Nice socks" (2.19.108; 4.27.20; 5.48.5) quip to distract and annoy cops, guards, or other authority figures that try to hinder his progress. Connor doesn't get along well with authority, but can you blame him? His parents have basically signed him away to be executed. So maybe authority isn't something he trusts.

When he teams up with Risa, he learns that he can accept others' leadership if that leadership happens to come from someone female and the same age as him. They're a good team, even though we're told "What [Connor] and Risa have isn't a relationship; it's just two people clinging to the same ledge hoping not to fall" (2.19.204). That sounds like a pretty solid definition of a relationship to us, but whether you agree or not, it's definitely a good reason to stick together.

Armed and Dangerous

Risa helps Connor survive until they get herded along (like sheep) to the Admiral's Graveyard, where they can toil away in safety until they're eighteen. Connor becomes a repairman, which is ironic since he seems to cause things to go wrong more often than not. And yet he can fix simple machines. Who knew?

This all goes horribly awry, though, as Connor is led by the Admiral to believe that his arch-nemesis, Roland, is plotting something. Roland is always plotting something, but Connor gets so obsessed with Roland, a boy whom is much more similar to Connor than he is different (check out his page in this section), that all heck breaks loose when he's not looking. Connor risks his life to save the Admiral, who is injured, proving the most accurate description of him to be true, when Hayden says, "You've got integrity […] even when you're being an ass" (5.34.7). Aw.

A series of unfortunate events leads Connor to the Happy Jack Harvest Camp, where his reputation as the Akron AWOL will get him unwound sooner rather than later. Connor's bad boy reputation has never done him any good, has it? After being horribly injured in an explosion, he's given the ID of Elvis Robert Mullard, a nineteen-year-old dead guard, which is a loophole saving him from being unwound. It's not all good news, though, because he also gets Roland's shark-tattooed arm to replace his mangled one, a reminder of his arch-enemy.

However, in the epilogue Connor has rebuilt the Graveyard and seems to be training an army for an uprising. Maybe in a sequel, Connor can become the man he has always wanted to be, instead of just a rebellious boy.

Connor Lassiter in Unwind Study Group

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