Book 2, Chapter 29

Summary:

When Theo wakes, Julian tells him that Rolf has left. Theo regrets not having used the gun to prevent Rolf from leaving, but Miriam points out that that would have been nearly impossible anyway. Theo believes that Rolf, having lost his clout as the father of Julian’s baby, will switch sides and use his information about the pregnancy to gain power with the Warden. The only good news is that Rolf will probably try to deliver the news in person, giving the group a little more time. Theo knows that once the news is delivered, however, the Warden will certainly come for them. Since Rolf knows they were planning to go to Wales, the group decides to head southeast toward the Forest of Dean instead. Since they are near a village, Theo resolves to go steal a car once night falls. Julian begs him not to take the gun, but he angrily refuses her request. He sees that he has hurt her feelings but resists the urge to comfort her, choosing instead to stay at a distance with his gun.

Analysis:

Rolf’s betrayal is unsurprising given his clear lack of interest in the group’s cause and his desire for power. The decision to join forces with the Warden is, for Rolf, a natural response to the denial of the future he has been imagining for himself. In Rolf’s absence, Theo becomes the group’s de facto leader. Again, we see how Theo has changed from a man who was once repulsed by the mere idea of someone depending on him into a man who willingly takes responsibility for others. Though he is a kinder, more intelligent leader than Rolf, we see that Theo, like Rolf, can be stubborn and angry when his ideas are questioned. When Julian challenges his decision to take the gun, he reacts with anger and lashes out at her. Theo’s decision at the end of the chapter—to hold the gun rather than Julian—is telling and shows us that though Theo’s feelings for Julian have grown, so too has his desire for power and control.