Study Guide

Unwind Religion

By Neal Schusterman

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Chapter 3

"You're special," his parents had always told him. "Your life will be to serve God, and mankind." (1.3.41)

Religion has many purposes, but a main one that we see in this book is the sense of belonging that it provides believers.

The car swerves and, thank God, it misses him—but it cuts off another car, hitting it, that car spins out of control, and the sound of crashes fills the air. (1.3.78)

You won't find the phrase "thank God" in the other POV chapters. It's only in Lev's, because amongst Connor, Risa, and Lev, Lev is the only believer.

Lev has always felt closer to God than to his friends, or even his family. He often wonders if being chosen always leaves a person so isolated. (1.3.44)

Lev is little like a male Joan of Arc here, and his savior complex makes him feel like he's different than everyone else. Maybe he's isolated because he acts like he's better than others.

Chapter 14

"Storking's in the Bible, too. […] Moses," says Lev. "Moses was put in a basket in the Nile and was found by Pharoah's daughter. He was the first storked baby, and look what happened to him!" (2.14.28, 2.14.30)

Although the Bill of Life and subsequent initiatives were intended to appease both sides of the abortion debate, it seems like they take an awful lot of their influence from the Bible. Either that, or Lev relates everything to the Bible stories he's so familiar with.

"I remember thinking, if a baby was going to be so unloved, why would God want it brought into the world?" (2.14.48)

This is a good question, and of course it's posed by Connor, who doesn't believe in God as Lev does. Oddly, Lev doesn't have a response to this.

Chapter 15

Being torn from his purpose was the most unnerving thing that had ever happened to Lev, but now he understands why God let it happen. It's a lesson. It's to show Lev what happens to children who shirk their destiny: They become lost in every possible way. (2.15.7)

That's Lev in the corner. That's him in the spotlight, losing his religion. Like Michael Stipe discovers in another song, everybody hurts, but for Lev the pain is exceptionally acute because he goes from a chosen one to a nobody.

Chapter 21

"My parents don't believe in intelligence scans. It's kind of a religious thing. Everyone's equal in God's eyes and all that." (3.21.48)

Although there are a lot of negative views on religion in this book, this is a positive one. Lev's parents do see everyone as equal—equally intelligent, and, well, equally up to being sacrificed.

Chapter 27

"She believed that if someone actually gets unwound, then they never had a soul to begin with. She said God must know who's going to be unwound, and he doesn't give them souls." (4.27.113)

This is one of those debates that we'll never know a definitive answer to, but it's sure fun to ponder. So ponder away, Shmoopers.

"Tithing's in the Bible; you're supposed to give 10 percent of everything." (2.14.28)

We just want to know if they have to tithe their poo, too. Everything includes everything, after all.

"The good Lord wouldn't have put it in your heart if it wasn't right." (3.21.3)

One thing Lev and CyFi have in a common is a belief in a higher power. CyFi doesn't have delusions of grandeur, though.

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