Who is Lev in Unwind?
Lev Tash’ne, known as Lev Calder, is one of the three protagonists in the book Unwind by Neal Shusterman. At thirteen, he is the youngest among the three “unwinds,” with fifteen-year-old Risa and sixteen-year-old Connor being the two others.
In the story, Lev is sent to be “unwound,” meaning his organs will be harvested to be used by others. In the novel, people believe that since 99.4% of the body of an unwind is utilized, the unwind does not really die—instead, they live on in others.
At the start of the story, Lev is aware that he is destined to become a “tithe,” or a religious sacrifice. Because Lev is the tenth child in his family, and his family sacrifices a tenth of everything, he understands that their sacrifice unfortunately includes him. He is ready to go to harvest camp for the unwinding, but on his way there, Connor kidnaps him. As Lev travels with Connor and Risa, he grows closer to the two. He begins to question his life purpose as an “unwind” and to resent his parents, who seem to love God more than they love him. When Lev questions his faith in God, Pastor Dan tells him that he does not have to lose his faith in God in order to lose his faith in the morality of unwinding.
Lev becomes a clapper—essentially a suicide bomber—but changes his mind about detonating the explosives in his body at the last minute so that he can save Connor. The police arrest Lev. Pastor Dan later pays him a visit in his cell, and Lev asks if he will be unwound. Pastor Dan tells him that because of the explosives injected into their bodies, clappers cannot be unwound. Even though the doctors have managed to get most of the explosives out of Lev’s system, some of the explosives can never be washed out.
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Lev is one of the three main characters in Neil Shusterman's book Unwind.
Lev is an Unwind, but he is distinctly different from all of the other Unwinds in the book. Lev is different because he is a "tithe." His parents are having him unwound because Lev is their tenth child.
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.
In the Christian religion, believers are asked to give one-tenth of their earnings back to God. This usually happens by that person or family donating money to the church.
In Unwind, Lev's parents take the one-tenth rule to an entirely new level. They are donating their tenth child to be taken back to God because no matter how the government tries to spin it, unwinding is killing a teenager.
Lev is also a very dynamic character in the book. I believe that he changes more than any other character in the book. Lev goes from being a person that totally embraces the idea of unwinding and tithing to being a clapper. A clapper is the equivalent of a suicide bomber. He/she has his/her body injected with a special chemical that explodes when hit hard enough. A clapper typically detonates himself by clapping his hands together. Lev's plan is to blow up the facility where unwinding takes place. He doesn't end up doing it though, and by the end of the book Lev has become a symbol of the fight against unwinding.
"What you did, Lev—it confused people. No one knows whether you're a monster or a hero."
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