Study Guide

Vampire Academy Freedom and Confinement

By Richelle Mead

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Freedom and Confinement

Images—hers, not mine—tumbled through my mind: fire and blood, the smell of smoke, the twisted metal of a car. The pictures wrapped around me, suffocating me, until some rational part of my brain reminded me that this wasn't my dream. (1.2)

Trapped inside Lissa's nightmares about the night of the car accident, Rose has nothing to do but wait… until her friend wakes up. It's super cool that she can read her friend's mind, but it's no fun when Lissa is plagued by dark emotions and images.

They were in the middle of setting up when we entered the gym, and just like in the commons, all eyes fell on me. I couldn't decide if I felt like a rock star or a circus freak. (3.14)

Back at the academy, Rose is a different kind of trapped. She's stuck in a world where everyone knows her—or of her at least—and she can't escape her social stigma or race. This is our first glimpse at the fact that rumors spread like wildfire around the academy, and someone is always bound to get burned.

My days revolved around church, lunch with Lissa, and whatever sort of social life I could scrape together outside of that. Denied any real free time, I didn't have too hard a time staying out of the spotlight although I did manage to steal a little attention here and there. (7.1)

Since she sprung Lissa out of the academy and high-tailed it to Portland, Rose is in big trouble. She hates being confined to her room and not getting to live it up like before she left, but Rose quickly figures out the best thing for her to do is train… and train… and train until she can't train any more.

"You're seventeen, and in less than a year, someone's life and death will be in your hands." His voice still sounded firm, but there was a gentleness there too. "If you were human or Moroi, you could have fun. You could do things other girls could." (9.77)

Dimitri sure knows how to give it to her straight. He's right though, and while Rose might want to go and do things every seventeen-year-old does—drink, party, hang out with hot guys—she's trapped in her role as a guardian. She doesn't get to decide what to do anymore, because her role decides for her. Yikes.

A little freedom was definitely worth the pain of sitting through a few boring speeches. (11.13)

When Rose is finally allowed out of her room to somewhere other than training or school, she's psyched. Check out the way she describes this as freedom. It's also important to remember that when she gets there, it's no fun—she has an awful time at the assembly. Maybe being locked up in her room isn't such a bad thing after all.

"You're shadow-kissed! You have to take care of her!" Ms. Karp had shouted those words at me, her hands clenching my shirt and jerking me toward her. (15.18)

Rose remembers being told this but isn't quite sure what it means, and the truth is, neither do we. Even without knowing what she means (at this point), we can guess that some parts of Rose's future have already been decided for her. She's stuck in her role as shadow-kissed whether she wants to be or not. Now only if she could find out what it means…

Every so often, though, I'd see her glance at me and smile, a tired look in her eyes. Laughing and gossiping all day with people she only sort of liked was taking its toll on her. (16.28)

Hanging out with the popular kids isn't all it's cracked up to be. Lissa feels like she has to keep up with the royals since her brother did that, but the truth is, it exhausts her. Throughout the book, Lissa is just trying to figure out where she belongs, and she's often limited to what everyone expects of her as a royal.

"You can heal other people… but it's killing you." (19.11)

It doesn't get much clearer than this, which Rose says to Lissa after she heals Rose's ankle. It's a really nice gesture, but it's hurting Lissa, so she has to stop using her powers before they destroy her.

"They never would have let you do it. The school. The council. Once they got over the shock of finding a spirit user, they'd get hung up on ethics. After all, how does one choose who gets to be healed? They'd say it wasn't fair. That it was like playing God. Or else they'd worry about the toll it'd take on you." (22.32)

Victor is confined because of his illness, but also because of the rules. He knows no one at the Academy would go for it if he just showed up one day asking to be healed by Lissa. If even a prince is limited by the rules, that means everyone is trapped in some way.

"Spirit can shape someone into a leader and also crush her ability to remain one. The fear, depression, and uncertainty take over, and keep her true strength buried deep within her. Still, she has the blood of the Dragomirs, which is no small thing. And of course, she has you, her shadow-kissed guardian. Who knows? She may surprise us yet." (23.64)

Hmm… could this be foreshadowing what's to come in the next book in the series? You'll have to read that one to find out, but we will tell you that Victor's comment hints at the idea that Lissa is trapped because of her element—spirit.

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