Notes from a Reading Journal: “Scythe,” by Neal Shusterman.

There were so many elements of this book that I loved! I loved that the Scythes had to keep a gleaning journal; I loved the theme of a “Thunderhead” taking over for the “cloud,” and making government; old age; and disease disappear. I loved the characters and the storyline itself regarding the battle between the old guard and new (read: psychopath) guard scythes.   

One of the deeper philosophical questions to explore was pondered upon by Scythe Currie in one of her journal entries, and covered the subject of what would happen to humanity as they came to terms with immortality. Would they all become Renaissance children, mastering endless new skills and knowledge, or would they sink into despair and laziness, overwhelmed with the knowledge of their uselessness and meaningless lives? She suspected the latter!

Later, she wrote a journal entry reflecting back upon the Age of Mortality, and writing that humans used to strive more heartily towards their goals because they knew that time was of the essence. It is a fascinating topic to discuss. What affect would immortality have on you? Would it be a gift or a curse? 

Another interesting character perspective that is demonstrated from the journal entries is that of Goddard, one of the “new guard” scythes. Goddard is really just a psychopath killer, and not a Scythe. To read his journal entries brought me back to college, when I was studying Crime Typologies! You see, the psychopath doesn’t think that he is a psychopath. He offers well-reasoned explanations for why he does the things that he does. Very few think that they are evil. Everyone has very compelling reasons of how they rationalize their actions to themselves. The journal entries from Goddard’s perspective were quite chilling to read!  

Quotes I Collected in my Reading Journal:

·      Page 53: “The greatest achievement of the human race was not conquering death. It was ending government.”  

·      Page 67: “Thou shalt lead an exemplary life in word and deed, and keep a journal of each and every day.” 

·      Page 244: “The Thunderhead saw to everyone’s needs. When you need nothing, what else can life be but pleasant?”

·      Page 396: “I have become the monster of monsters, he thought as he watched it all burn. The butcher of lions. The executioner of eagles.”