In the book Unwind, what are some quotes that show how the characters changed from the beginning of the story to the end of the story?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Because Connor is usually the character discussed when readers speak about change (because he is the main character and changes from bitter to hopeful), I would like to examine two different characters.  Two other characters that truly change from the beginning to the end of the story are Lev and Risa.  In my opinion, Lev's change is the most dramatic.  Lev changes from someone who truly believes in unwinding to someone who is completely against unwinding.  At the beginning, Lev accepts his parents decision to unwind him.

Lev reluctantly nods, knowing it's true. He was a "true tithe." With five natural siblings, plus one adopted, and three that arrived "by stork," Lev was exactly one-tenth. His parents had always told him that made him all the more special.

However, at the end, Lev is the character who turns into a clapper and attempts to blow up the facility where the young are unwound.  As a result, Lev becomes someone who turns from a person of blind acceptance to a person of vengeful retaliation.

What you did, Lev—it confused people. No one knows whether you're a monster or a hero.  

Another character who truly changes by the end of the book is Risa.   Risa was raised in State Home and is bitter and even violent at the beginning of the book. Risa is especially adverse to touch:  “Touch me again and your arm gets ripped off.  Got That?"  Throughout the book, Risa loses much of her bitterness and gains the quality of hope.  She first finds hope when she cares for a baby.  She realizes that, when she puts the baby down, "Risa feels a tremendous sense of relief, but also an indefinable sense of emptiness.”  Of course, Risa also learns to trust and hope in Connor.  When Risa "looks at Connor," much of the bitterness and disillusionment of her former life "fades away.  There's only him."

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lusie0520 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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In the book Unwind, the three main characters undergo changes from the beginning of the book to the end. Risa, for example, trusts no one at the beginning of the novel because of her State Home upbringing. “Touch me again and your arm gets ripped off,” Risa tells him. “Got that?” Risa has always had to fend for herself, and it is difficult for her to learn to trust. She doesn’t like to show emotions, but that begins to change when she takes care of the baby. “The moment the baby is out of her arms, Risa feels a tremendous sense of relief, but also an indefinable sense of emptiness.” By the end of the novel, Risa is able to trust and believe in Connor because he shows her he can be trusted along the way. “But when she looks at Connor, all that fades away. There’s only him.”

Connor also changes along the way. At the beginning of the story, Connor is angry and bitter. “I’m not your son! I stopped being your son the moment you signed the unwind order!” The longer he is away from his parents and free from the prospect of unwinding, the more his anger and bitterness fades, and he begins to grow up. “Kids know not to tread on him because he’s got a low tolerance for irritation and idiocy. But there’s no one they’d rather have on their side than Connor.” By the end of the novel. Connor is a role model to the younger children, and his anger and bitterness are a thing of the past. “Connor takes a deep breath and releases it along with his tension. At last, he allows himself the wonderful luxury of hope.”

Lev also changes in the novel. At first, Lev really believes in the process of unwinding, and of his place in that process as a tithe. “This is what I was born for. It’s what I’ve lived my life for. I am chosen.” As he spends time with Risa, Lev, and then Cy, however, he begins to doubt his beliefs. After he watches Cy confront “Tyler’s” parents, Lev knows that unwinding is wrong. “He knows he’s been changed by this moment, transformed in some deep and frightening way.” Lev does not completely change, however, until he participates in rescuing his friends. “But instead you ran into the wreckage and pulled out four people.” Lev learns that he can be a good person even though he has done something society believes is wrong; he learns that he does not have to believe in tithing in order to believe in God.

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