What is a theme or lesson from the book Unwind?

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One of the most valuable lessons to be learned from reading the book is that people should be valued for themselves, not for what they can do for other people. In other words, human beings should always be treated as ends in themselves, not as means to achieve some specific purpose.

Yet that's exactly what happens in the dystopian society depicted in such horrifying detail in Unwind. Here, certain people are not treated as ends in themselves, valued and cherished as unique individuals. Instead, they're seen as little more than a potential source of organs, which are to be harvested and then implanted in suitable donors.

Not surprisingly, there are those in this society who see that there's something fundamentally wrong with such an attitude towards life. Although some people are to be given the gift of life due to the unwinding procedure, this will only be at the cost of deliberately ending other people's lives, and this is morally unacceptable.

Thankfully, there are brave individuals like Connor and Risa who are prepared to stand up to this madness and assert the value of each and every human being. In doing so, they're also showing the importance of standing up for what you believe in, whatever the odds. And that in itself is another important lesson to be learned from the story.

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There are a lot of various themes and lessons that could be taken from this book. A good place to start considering themes and lessons would be to examine specific characters. For example, the book doesn't shy away from religion and faith themes. Lev comes from a Christian family that believes in the concept of tithing. This is a very common Christian concept, but Lev's family places it above the importance of human life. Since Lev is their tenth child, they feel that his entire life and body should be donated to potential recipients of unwind parts. This entire situation brings up the possibility of anti-Christian biasing within the text; however, Lev's pastor doesn't believe tithing a person's life is God-honoring, so he actually helps Lev escape. Lev struggles through much of the text trying to come to terms with whether or not being a tithe is something that God actually wants.

There is a theme of perseverance throughout the text, and that is what makes Connor such a great character to read about. He simply refuses to give up no matter what the situation is, and he will continue this kind of non-stop fighting throughout the rest of the series. Love is thematically important too. Readers see it early on when Connor believes that his girlfriend will skip AWOL with him, and we see it again as Connor and Risa become closer and closer throughout the book.

Finally, I think that the book has a theme about the importance of life. Specifically, I think the book challenges readers to consider what life is in the first place. The war was fought over the concept of abortion, and somehow the world came to peace with the invention of unwinding because it was believed that the child didn't truly die. He or she lived on in multiple parts and places. While I don't personally believe that, characters like CyFi really send the message of it being a possibility.

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A theme or lesson from Unwind is that all life is valuable.  Another theme is the meaning of life itself.

In the story, a war has been fought between the pro-life and pro-choice movements.  As a result, the Bill of Life has been passed. The bill states that no fetuses can be aborted, but that after the child turns thirteen the parents can choose to retroactively abort the child by having him or her unwound.  The process of unwinding means that body parts are harvested and transplanted into others.

Sometimes parents choose to unwind their children because they are trouble makers. Ariana’s parents tell her that they always knew Connor “would be an unwind” (p. 5).

Connor wonders how he can call his parents’ house home, when he is about to be “evicted… from the hearts of those who are supposed to love him” (p. 5). This explores the theme of why Connor is not worthy to live, because he is a living thinking human being.

The war that was fought over abortion was a war of ideals.  The war’s (and the novel's) central issue was the same one we grapple with in our society: what is life? Does life begin at conception, when there is no consciousness? Is it murder to kill a person before he has a chance to become a person? Does life begin when one is born, so that once a person is a person that person has a right to live no matter what?

The conversation between the colonel and Connor is relevant to the issue of what life means. Even though the war was fought over the meaning of life, it is not that simple.

You see, a conflict always begins with an issue—a difference of opinion, an argument.  By the time it turns into a war, the issue doesn’t matter anymore. (p. 222)

Since the Bill of Rights was passed, unwinding is seen as a compromise. However, others feel that it is murder. The ones who are pro-life now are the ones that do not want to abort the living children.

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