Gathering Blue

by Lois Lowry

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What are some of Kira's worst qualities in Gathering Blue? Where can I find this in the book?

While Kira, the main character in Gathering Blue, possesses very few negative qualities, she does interrupt the Council and does not quite tell the truth at one point. Yet her most negative trait is her unquestioning acceptance of the brutality and authoritarianism of her village.

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Kira, the main character in Lois Lowry's Gathering Blue, actually exhibits very few negative qualities. Readers might fault with her slightly for her minor outbursts in front of the Council of Guardians during her trial. She unthinkingly interrupts the guardian a couple times, but we can easily excuse her conduct on account of her nervousness and inexperience. She is on trial for her life, after all (see chapter 3).

A little more serious, however, is Kira's almost-but-not-quite lie to the Council in chapter 5. Jamison is questioning Kira about the skills she has learned from her mother. Kira freely admits, “I still have much to learn.” But when Jamison asks her, “And she taught you the coloring, as well as the stitches,” Kira nods, even though she knows her positive answer is not true. She feels that Jamison expects her affirmation. Her conscience immediately pricks her, and she adds, “She was beginning to teach me,” hoping that this is closer to the truth.

Kira's most negative trait, however, is her unquestioning acceptance of the “way things are” in her village. She expects no help or compassion from her neighbors; this is normal to her. She mourns the burning of the tiny cottage she and her mother had shared, yet she does not question the authority of those who ordered the action. She never once doubts the authority of the Council of Guardians to send her to her death in the Field if they so decide, for that is simply the way things are in her village. She notices the behavior of her neighbors, their bickering and backbiting, their cruelty, and their squalor, but these are so normal to her that she does not think even to question that there might be another way to live, something better. It rarely even occurs to her that sending a person with a disability to the Field to die might be wrong, inhuman, and horrific. She is grateful to her mother for saving her, but still the practice seems routine.

None of this, though, is Kira's fault. She knows no better. She has never experienced any other way of life than the brutality and authoritarian customs of her village. Yet she has experienced her mother's kindness and love. She has experienced Matt's carefree happiness. She has experienced the strange sensation of artistic creation.

So she begins, very slowly, to realize that perhaps there is something more to life, more to humanity, than her shallow, cruel little village. Very slowly she begins to question what she has been taught and to think for herself. Her mind opens. Her vision changes. She embarks on a series of revelations that alter her entire outlook, help her embrace her artistic talent, and guide her in making the most important decision of her life.

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