In the book Unwind by Neal Shusterman, Which of the three main characters’ traits allows them to succeed? Explain and give specific evidence to support your answer.

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

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The main characters in Unwind are Risa, Connor and Lev.  Each character has specific traits that allow him or her to succeed.  For example, Risa is intelligent and analytical.  When others, particularly Connor, do not think, Risa stops to consider the options.  In Chapter 8, Risa and Connor argue about whether they should accept help.  Connor immediately says no, but Risa, thinking through the situation, says “but if we’re clever about it, instead of rushing into this blind, we’ll have a better chance." Later in the novel, she is suspicious about Roland, and instead of confronting him, she decides to talk to Connor. Connor immediately wants a fight, but Risa says, “No!  You can’t take the bait! That’s what he wants!”  (Chapter 22). Risa is able to analyze situations; this is her strength.

Connor, on the other hand, is hotheaded and quick to act without thinking, but he is very compassionate. This is why he saves Lev, even though Lev does not want to be saved.  “ Connor wastes no time. He picks the kid up off the ground and flips him over his shoulder (Chapter 4). Although Connor is quick to anger, he will listen to reason in order to do the right thing. He truly wants to be a good person, and this shows as he learns throughout the novel. For example, although he distrusts the Admiral, he is willing to listen to the Admiral’s story about Harlan, and make his decisions based upon what he hears.  “…the Admiral was a darkly obsessed man, but his obsession saved lives. Hayden once said that Connor had integrity. That same integrity locks him firmly on the Admiral’s side” (Chapter 34).

The trait that allows Lev to succeed in the novel is loyalty.  At the beginning of the novel, Lev is secure in the knowledge that he is a tithe, and he is willing to sacrifice anything, including his friends, to remain loyal to that idea. “I would have never run from my own tithing“ (Ch.  6). Although he does betray Connor and Risa, by the end of the novel he understands that unwinding is wrong, but killing his friends is also wrong. “Suddenly Lev knows what is about to happen. He can’t let Connor go in there, not now.  He’s got to stop him!” (Ch. 65)

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