Book 2, Chapter 26
Theo begins by saying that he suspects this will be his last diary entry. Whether or not he survives, he feels that he must record this day. He thinks back to how, at Oxford, he used to write up an assessment of the applicants he admitted. He remembers enjoying looking back on those preliminary reports when the student graduated and finding that he had often correctly judged their natures. This exercise left Theo confident that he could evaluate others effectively. He feels very differently about his fellow fugitives, however, admitting that he does not truly know or understand them. Despite this, Theo writes that he has never felt as at ease with anyone as he does with these strangers. He reports that they camped out in the grove of trees during the day, talking and working together. Theo watched Rolf clean the car, finding it hard to believe that this was the same man who only the day before openly admitted his desire for ultimate power. Reflecting on their situation, Theo admits that Rolf’s decision to delegate the organization of rations to Luke did show some natural leadership ability. The day was peaceful and beautiful, in part because the group—through unspoken agreement—did not discuss their plans or fears about the future. Theo writes that he has no desire to revisit the solitary man he once was by rereading the older entries in the diary. As the darkness falls, the group must prepare to set out once again. Theo writes that he knows the group will ultimately face unimaginable dangers and horrors. Despite his certainty that danger lies ahead, Theo is at peace in the knowledge that at least they had this one perfect day.
This chapter marks the end of Theodore’s diary, and the Theo who writes this entry is a far cry from the man in Book One. Theo’s memory of how he used to “judge” new students perfectly illustrates his former arrogance in assuming he could truly know or understand someone without actually being close to them. Now, however, Theo has accepted that he doesn’t truly understand his companions (and probably never will). While that knowledge would have once made him uncomfortable, it now makes him feel free; by letting go of his arrogance, Theo is able to feel true closeness and companionship for the first time. He even finally admits that he is learning to love Julian. We also see a new side of Rolf, one that is calmer and more at ease. Theo is forced to admit that Rolf does possess some natural leadership ability, complicating his earlier assessment of Rolf as someone who only wants to be a leader because he relishes power.