Gathering Blue

by Lois Lowry

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In Gathering Blue, what are three reasons why a child would not be adopted?

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In Kira's society, children, or tykes as they are called, are considered valuable because they can become workers for the family unit. However, any child who represents a drain on the family resources without the hope of future gain would not be likely to get adopted. A child who was sickly, weak, or physically handicapped whose mother had died would probably be brought to the Field of Leaving to die because no one would want to adopt him or her. Because of Kira's congenitally deformed leg, she was almost taken away from her mother in infancy. When Kira returns to the village after her mother's death in chapter 1, she thinks of her uncle, whose wife and baby have just died. She knows her uncle's children, now without a mother, will be distributed to parents who have no children. While "healthy, strong tykes were valuable," those who are neither, and especially those with any kind of deformity, will not be cared for by the village but will be left to die. Additionally, since the culture believed that the spirit didn't come into a child until its fourth day of life, a newborn infant without a mother would probably be left to die as well, rather than adopted by another family since a newborn would require a great deal of care and nurture before any work could be gained from the child. 

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