Gathering Blue

by Lois Lowry

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Why does Kira appeal to the women's sense of fear and self-interest?

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In chapter 2, Kira returns to the village after attending her mother's dead body in the Field of Leaving, only to find that the women of the village intend to kill her so that they can have the area on which her family's cott had stood. They want to build a pen for chickens and tykes there. Vandara is the leader of this group of women, and the women look toward her for instructions. Some of the women have rocks in their hands. Once one woman threw a rock, Kira knew, the others would follow, and she could be quickly stoned to death. She knows it is useless to appeal to their compassion. The women in the community don't value thinking of others and seem to have never learned to be kind or empathetic. Therefore, Kira knows she must appeal to their fear. She begins reciting the law that the women are subject to. Conflicts must be taken to the guardians for resolution. If a dispute results in a death without going to the guardians, then the one who causes the death will be executed. This knowledge, this fear of capital punishment, saves Kira from stoning. Vandara becomes her accuser, and the Council of Guardians allows Kira to live.

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