Book 1, Chapter 18

Summary:

Theo takes care to lock his diary in a desk drawer but realizes that such a defense would be futile if the State Security Police were truly determined to look for it. He is frustrated by the thought that he might have to censor himself in the diary. Though Theo did not feel frightened when the SSP visited, the process of writing about it leaves him fearful that he did not handle the encounter as well as he thought. He wonders if the SSP has already captured the group and realizes that his knowledge of the conditions at the penal colony might lead them to Miriam as she is one of the few—if not the only—known to have interacted with someone who escaped from the colony. He is suddenly overcome by loneliness, an emotion he is not accustomed to. He thinks about whether or not he should warn the group that the government is trying to find them but worries that he might be being watched. He decides there is nothing to do but wait.

Analysis:

For the first time, Theo realizes how deeply involved he has become in the activities of the Five Fishes. Though he initially dismissed their security concerns as paranoia, he now realizes that the government actually does see them as a threat and that his association with the group may be putting him in true danger. As he grapples with this realization, we also see the beginnings of a change in Theo’s personality. He contemplates ways to warn the group, and though he ultimately decides there is no safe way to do so, this is a major shift for a man who, in the past, has been repulsed by the thought of being responsible for others. This is also the first point at which Theo recognizes how terribly lonely his life is. In his determination to be free of anyone who might come to depend on him, Theo has lost the chance to depend on anyone else. It is only now, when he feels he may be in danger, that Theo truly understands the benefits of trust and companionship.