Study Guide

Unwind Betrayal

By Neal Schusterman

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Chapter 1

Standing ten yards away is Connor's father, still holding the cell phone he had just called from. (1.1.118)

Did we say double-dose? Let's up that to triple-dose. When Connor runs away, his dad can't just let him go. He tracks him down, and for what? Just to ensure that his child is unwound. Why isn't just not having him in the house enough?

They were going on a family vacation over Thanksgiving. One problem, though: There were only three tickets. (1.1.27)

Wow, Connor's parents aren't only having him unwound, they're not even planning on telling him about it until the last possible minute. Of course, we guess there's no easy way to break it to a kid that you're having him killed, is there?

"It was a dream. Reality got in the way, that's all. And running away doesn't solve anything." (1.1.55)

As if being betrayed by his parents wasn't enough, Connor gets a double-dose of betrayal from his so-called girlfriend. What is a "dream" to her is real-life and necessary to survive for him.

Chapter 2

Mr. Durkin does not come. This hurts Risa most of all. (1.2.34)

Risa also lives a short life full of betrayal. Not only was she abandoned in a state home, the one mentor she thought she had doesn't even show up when she's shipped away to be unwound. Is there any adult these kids can count on?

Chapter 13

Lev reaches into the kid's backpack and pulls out a dog-eared notebook. […] Lev begins to write: HELP! I'M BEING HELD HOSTAGE BY TWO AWOL UNWINDS. NOD IF YOU UNDERSTAND… (2.13.11)

Lev is the opposite of Connor and Risa. He doesn't feel betrayed by his family at all, because he knows he's going to be an Unwind from the time he's born. Lev ends up being the betrayer as opposed to the betrayed.

Chapter 21

Cy picks a dangling gold bauble from the glittering tree and slips it into his coat pocket. (3.21.110)

When Lev meets CyFi, he seems to be a pillar of morals and honesty, so it's extra shocking when all of a sudden he steals something from a shop. Of course it's because the Unwind part of his brain is taking over, but we don't know that yet when this happens.

Chapter 24

They betrayal is so unexpected, so complete, Risa doesn't know who to hate more, Roland or Connor. (3.24.25)

This is a no-brainer if you ask us; obviously she should hate Roland. Roland is the one who attempts to rape Risa, not Connor, and Connor manages to stop Roland without getting physical.

Chapter 34

[Connor] hauls off and punches Lev in the eye. Not hard enough to knock him down, but hard enough to snap his head halfway around and give him a nasty shiner. Before Lev can react, Connor says, "That's for what you did to us." (5.34.60)

Then Connor hugs him. Connor has to punish Lev for betraying him, but he's able to forgive him and move on, too.

[Lev] doesn't want to answer this man who led him to a cliff only to turn away at the last minute. (2.15.39)

Here Lev gets a taste of the betrayal Connor and Risa felt from their elders, except it's reversed. Lev feels betrayed because Pastor Dan is telling him to live, when he was prepared to die. Granted, it must be a lot for him to wrap his mind around after a lifetime spent looking toward death.

Connor knew Roland would give him and Risa up, but giving up all of them—that's a new low for Roland. (5.50.4)

Connor doesn't just throw Risa and Connor under the bus (no offense to all those kids in the bus crash at the beginning of the book), he chucks the whole Graveyard to the police in order to save himself. Do you think Roland feels any remorse over this? If so, you'd best have evidence from the text to back you up. Otherwise you'll never convince us.

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