Book 1, Chapter 10

Summary:

The next day, Theo leaves a message in the Cast Museum, informing the group that he has agreed to speak to the Warden. Although he has agreed to help the group, he still believes that their aims are ridiculous and futile. He acknowledges that his primary motivation for acting is not his horror at the Quietus but rather his indignation about how he was treated when he tried to intervene. On his way out, he runs into Digby Yule, an old professor who is clearly not taking care of himself very well. Theo wonders if the man’s anxious assurances that he is self-sufficient come from a fear that someone will report him as being too old and burdensome. With the Quietus fresh in his mind, it occurs to Theo that he could offer the man a room in his home. However, he quickly dismisses the idea, assuring himself that the old man would not have wanted to move in anyway.

Analysis:

Theo indicates his agreement to go to the Warden by leaving the group a message that simply says “YES.” Although his initial commitment is simple, we will later see that Theo’s involvement with the group is anything but simple. It is interesting that Theo chooses to leave the note in the Cast Museum, a place that he was first shown by Xan. While Xan liked the stern, unemotional statues of the early classical period, Theo prefered the softer, flowing Hellenistic statues. These preferences hint once more that Theo possesses a capacity for softness and emotion that Xan does not. Theo notes that the museum never seems to change, which contrasts with the dramatic personal change Theo is making by deciding to help the group. Although the museum was once a place for Theo to escape his ruined marriage, it is now a place where he will take the first step toward allowing others to depend on him.

While this chapter marks the beginning of a change in Theo, he is still very much held back by his old ways of thinking. Though what Theo witnessed at the Quietus upset him, he admits that his decision to do something about it is motivated more by selfish indignation that he was attacked than by any strong sense of moral outrage. Furthermore, while at the museum, Theo realizes that Digby is living in fear of the Quietus and is unable to care for himself. Despite his understanding of Digby’s plight, Theo cannot bring himself to reach out and offer to help.