Gathering Blue

by Lois Lowry

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What are five character traits of Thomas in Gathering Blue?

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The main character in this book is Kira, and her role is a bit of an underdog. She has no parents, and she is an orphan. She lives with the Guardians, but they don't treat her well. Kira's parents had no place to live when they were alive, so they lived outside the town walls. They were not allowed to stay, of course, so they had to go somewhere else. They went down into the woods and built a house out of branches and leaves. When Kira's mother was pregnant with Kira, she found a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest; it couldn't fly and didn't have any feathers yet.

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Thomas the Carver lives in the Council Edifice with Kira. Like Kira, he was orphaned and taken in by the Council of Guardians because of his artistic abilities. Thomas can be described as friendly, conscientious, previously mischievous, helpful, and complacent.

Thomas makes Kira feel at home in the Edifice, explaining...

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to her about the tenders and how various things work there. His friendliness makes life at the Edifice happier and more comfortable for Kira.

Thomas is conscientious about the work he performs for the guardians. He works at his meticulous carving of the Singer's staff until he gets headaches and becomes fatigued.

Kira learns from Thomas that he used to be more mischievous than he is now. In those days, he carved a key that fit the locks of every room in the Council Edifice, which they are able to use to meet Jo. Thomas reveals that he used to go out at night and snoop in all the rooms; he was "just like Matt."

Thomas is helpful when Kira needs assistance. He goes with her to investigate the crying, and they locate Jo's room together. When she sees Matt preparing to go on the hunt, she asks Thomas to help her, and he brings Matt in and bathes him in his tub. Later, when Kira is worried about Matt's disappearance, Thomas accompanies her to the Fen to look for the boy.

These characteristics make Thomas a good companion for Kira. An area where the two of them don't see eye to eye, however, is in their desire to bring change to their society. When Kira suggests about the future represented by the blank spots on the robe and staff that "maybe we can make it different," Thomas is skeptical. When Kira suspects that the guardians have killed the artists' parents deliberately and are using their talents for their own purposes, Thomas shrugs it off. He is content to have a good place to live, good tools, plenty to eat, and work to do. He is complacent with his life.

Before the time frame of the story, Thomas had been a mischievous boy. Now he is conscientious, friendly, and helpful, but his complacency makes him a less intriguing character than Kira.

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