The Messenger

Online Blog By Erin Odom

Theme 1 Compassion

Compassion is the ability to see what needs doing right now and the willingness to do it right now. Compassion is one of the themes in this book. Matty learned there was a price to pay every time he used his gift, yet he still used it. That is a sign of compassion. Matty sets out to get Kira, who is Seer's daughter. He goes on the journey even though he knows how bad it could be. The only reason he goes on the journey is to be bring Kira home to Seer, her farther. Matty uses his gift to help save Forest and Village. He is also saving the villagers, Kira, and Frolic. Matty does all this knowing he could loose his life. Matty is compassionate about helping Kira get to Seer, fixing Forest, helping Village, and saving the villagers. From this I learned that you will eventually have to give something up to help someone and not just do it once because you feel like you have to, you should do it because you want to.
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Theme 2 Selflessness

One of the main themes in this book is about how important generosity and selflessness in this world is. Forest's sudden changes and hatred towards Matty indicates the negative changes in village of the villagers. Village once portrayed itself as an opening, loving community that welcomed new comers. People start becoming selfish and are no longer the caring, loving people they once were. A group of new comers show up and are very hurt, sick, starving, and weak; most of the villagers ignore them. They said they had taken care of new comers long enough. Forest begins to thicken and darken along with the villagers, who start to trade their souls for exterior things. Mentor trades his deepest self for appearances and love. He never reads poetry anymore and hardly ever acknowledges his daughter, Jean, or Matty. From this I learned that I need to start putting everybody and their feelings before me and what I want.
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Climax

The turmoil in Village had reached its peak. Matty set out on his last journey telling the other towns that Village was no longer welcoming new comers. He was hoping to learn his true name when he returned home. On the trip home with Kira, Forest gets so bad that they can no longer breathe, Kira's feet are wounded very badly, and Frolic the puppy has now died. Matty risks his own life by using his unique healing abilities with his hands to heal the sickness of Forest and Village. He also is healing Kira, Frolic, and the villagers. Kira's power revealed that Leader would have to come help them in Forest. When Leader arrives, Matty knows he has to use his gift to save everything. This final act of honor ends up taking all his strength, power, and it takes his life. Leader announces that if Matty would have made it back safely he would have been given his true name which is Healer. This is my favorite part of the book because I feel like it has so much happening and I enjoy when lots of thing are going on.
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Setting

The setting in The Messenger is a community named Village with a time frame of the future. Village is where Matty, Seer, Leader, Mentor, and Jean live. Village is a community where people that were cast outs from their old community because they were seriously injured come to Village for help and shelter. Although Village is lacking technology people are happy there. The village never lacked people who were always willing to help one another, until Trade Mart. At Trade Mart villagers start to trade their deepest selves for other things. The villagers are now self-centered, angry, and impatient, so they decide to close off their boarders to new comers. Village used to be based off of selflessness, now it's the complete opposite until Matty uses his special gift to save it. Village is located outside of Forest.
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Conflict

The problem in the story is one of greed and power. Influences from outside Village seem to be changing the villagers from their usual happy go lucky selves into greedy individuals. The first instance occurs when Mentor's birthmark disappears, then his bald spot vanishes as well. We find out that he traded his deepest self for love. Forest, a place that separates other towns from Village, becomes an evil, twisted place that purposely tries to kill people as they travel. This happens after the people of Village go to Trade Mart and start to trade something personal for an object such as a game machine. The personal object is not tangible. It would be something like their health or their inner self. Some even traded their powers for objects or other intangible items. This conflict causes Matty to turn his attention to Forest in attempt to heal it with his own powers.
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Solution

What was going on in Forest seemed to be a metaphor for what was happening in the villagers hearts. The ultimate sacrifice that Matty made using his powers was the ultimate solution. Mentor finds poetry again. He stooped once again and was balding. His face was strained again with the birthmark. The wall builders had walked away from their work. All the new comers were singing in their own languages. Forest was exactly was seer said, it was a tangled knot of fears and deceits and dark struggles for power that had disguised itself and almost destroyed everything. Now it was unfolding, like a flower coming into bloom, radiant with possibility. Matty watched Kira wake and Leader find her.
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Tone

The tone of this book is good triumphing over evil with Christian undertones. Evil within the Village was affecting the health a frog in forest, so Matty had to use his powers to heal it. That is when Matty first discovers his powers. The same thing goes with when Matty has to heal the dogs. Matty's friend Ramon and Ramon's little sister are very ill, but their parents don't seem to even care. Matty uses his powers to heal and get rid of the evil atmosphere of Forest and Village. With doing so Mentor changed back to his usual calm self and his birth mark and bald spot reappear. The Villagers who were building the wall to cut off Village to others end up walking away from their work. The only way for Village to be saved was for Matty to use his power. Just like Jesus who gave his life on the cross to save humanity, Matty sacrificed his life when he used his power to save Village and all its Villagers.
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Mood

The mood changed throughout the story depending on the events that were occurring. For example, when Matty gets his dog the mood is very happy. Another example is when Matty dies the mood is very sad and depressing. The mood could also be angry or upset because he dies. When Forest killed Gatherer without giving him any signs the mood was suspicious. At some points in the story the mood was anxious or surprised. Other times it could have been Calm and collected or excited and thrilled. When Matty goes to Trade Mart the mood was knowing. I felt like I knew something was up while he was at Trade Mart. Without the mood the story would have been very dull, it wouldn't have of had any emotion.
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Event 1 Matty Dies ch. 21

At the end of the book Matty gives all his energy to Forest and Village. He was hoping to get his true name at the end of this journey. Matty wanted so badly of his true name to be Messenger, but after he dies Leader goes up to his lifeless body, puts his hand over his closed eyes, and announces his true name is Healer. Seer tells Matty fear is just an illusion, right before he dies he notices Seer was right. "Forest was a tangled knot of fears and deceits and dark struggles for power that had disguised itself and almost destroyed everything." Kira says she knew Matty when he was a little boy. She says he always had a dirty face and a mischievous mind and called himself the Fiercest of the Fierce. Matty really was the Fiercest of the Fierce but that wasn't his true name. Before Matty sets out on his journey Leader tells him to save his gift for when he really needs it, the whole village and Forest. Matty was expecting to die when he puts his hands deep down into the earth to save Village.
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Event 2 Gatherer Dies Chapter 2

Gather went to tell Forest about his new child. He went when his last child was born and decided to go again. Forest entangled Gatherer; vines were wrapped around his neck and hands. Twigs had started to enter under his eyelids and were coming out of his out. He was a cheerful man who loved children and small animals, who smiled often, and told jokes. Gatherer would always toss berries to Matty and Ramon when they'd pass by him while he was gathering. They would open they're mouth and he'd aim for it. When Forest pushes out Gatherer Ramon goes to see him and then tells Matty. Usually Forest will give you a sign telling you not to come back or it will kill you, but Gatherer's wife says he never received any signs. This is when Leader realized something was wrong with Forest.
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Event 3 Matty Heals The Dogs Chapter 5

Jean's dog had a liter of three puppies and she promised Matty one. Two of the puppies died and the mothe and last puppy are very ill. Matty asks to see them and goes to pet the puppy but jerks his hand back when he feels a shock, then remembers he can heal them. He sent Jean to get Yarrow, Spearmint, Lemon Balm, and Catnip to get her away. About an hour later he stumbled back home, exhausted and weak. Jean was too distracted by the liveliness of the dogs to notice how tired Matty was. When Matty got home he went up to his room and started to think about that time he healed the frog. He felt the same exhaustion he did then but magnified this time. Then surprisingly he started to cry. He wept and felt as if the tears were cleansing him, as if his body needed to empty itself.
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Event 4 MAtty Goes To Trade Mart Chapter 7

Matty convinced Seer to let him go to Trade Mart under One Condition, he doesn't trade anything. On Matty's way to Trade Mart he didn't feel right. It wasn't like market day with sounds of laughter, conversation, and commerce. It was simply a low hum, a nervous whisper through the crowd. Matty began talking to Mentor and everything seemed like it was back to normal again, until Trade Master announces that Trade Mart begins. Then Mentor stiffened and his arm fell from Matty's shoulder. Matty thought it was weird that nobody had anything to trade with them. When someone would go up to the stage to trade, Trade Master would say trade for what and write down their answer down in a book. Trade Master would say yes or no to their trade. Mentor traded first and he seemed relieved Trade Master wrote something down.
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Event 5 The Meeting To Close Village Ch. 10

The village had always been an open welcoming place. There was a meeting to vote on the petition to close Village to outsiders. Not only had the people but also their appearance been changing. Matty couldn't believe the changes that were happening with the people of Village. Both his friend Ramon and Ramon's little sister were very sick and their parents didn't seem to care. Matty noticed the differences of the people who spoke at the meeting between the ones who had been to Trade Mart and who hadn't. Seer spoke of how it was when he came to Village as well as when Matty did. At the end of the meeting the villagers voted to close off Village to outsiders. Seer asked Matty to bring home Kira to Village before the boarder closed. Little did Seer know that only one of them would make it back to him.
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Character Relate

Me and Matty are very alike and different in many ways. Just like Matty, when I was young I'd lie and get in lots if trouble for the things I did, but I never stole. Sometimes I still do things that get me in trouble, but for the most part I've stopped. Although I'm a very caring and helpful person, I'd never risk my life for someone else's, no matter how selfish that sound I wouldn't. I mean seriously they're the ones who traded for the wrong thing, so what does that have to do with me. Just like Matty I love dogs and love having them around. Also Matty loves to read, but me not so much. Me an Matty both have powers. He has the power to heal and I have the special power of charm. We are also both loyal to friends.
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New Setting

Regardless of the setting the meaning wouldn't have changed. The meaning would still be selflessness triumphing over greed, envy, and the struggle for power. If the setting would have taken place in the ocean or anywhere else it wouldn't have changed the final outcome of Matty sacrificing his life. For example, instead of Village it would be Island. There would be sea creatures instead f the trees and vines. Matty would discover his powers with a fish instead of a frog. All of the villagers would be half-mermaid so they can breather under water, but so they can still walk. Instead of Matty having a dog named Frolic, he'd have a pet seahorse named scout. Matty would go from island to island to deliver messages instead from village to village. Also the villagers would build a dam to keep out new comers, instead of a wall.
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Matty

Matty is a young boy, who is struggling to understand his strange, unique healing powers. Matty first discovers his powers in Forest with frog that is marked, meaning it needs healing. At one point in time Matty was a trouble maker from a broken home, that was until he arrived at Village, where people took him in as one of their own, gave him food, clothes, and shelter. When he first came to village he hated learning, now he has a thirst for knowledge. Matty came from a community where they only knew what the people told them. Now he is a boy on the brink of manhood, he's growing taller and his vice is deepening, yet he still acts immature at sometimes. He is very energetic and impatient also. Matty is one of the only people Forest let's in, others from Village rarely ventured into forest because it was dangerous for them. It could close in and entangle people who tried to travel beyond. Matty is a very caring boy, he assist Seer ,who is blind, he went on a very dangerous journey just to bring Kira home to Seer, and at the end of the book he risks his own life just to save everybody else. He always believed when he got his true name it would be Messenger, but after his death leader announces his true name is healer.
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Seer

Seer is a blind man, who Matty lives with. He thinks of Matty as his own son. Seer has practically raised Matty. He has a daughter named Kira, who Matty goes on a dangerous journey to bring her home to Seer. Seer didn't want Matty to go at first because he had a feeling something bad was going on. He is very wise. Although Seer is blind he can see much more than most. That's why they call him Seer. Seer also has the gift to rember things and can hear very well. Even though Seer is blind he knows Village like the back of his hand.
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Kira

Kira is Seer's daughter. She was born with a crooked leg. She has the ability to see beyond while working on her tapestry. Kira is the person Matty must bring home to Seer before they close off Village to new comers. When Matty gets to Kira's he offers to cure her leg thinking it would make the journey back faster, but she declines saying it's a part of her and she'll be fine. Kira is one of Matty's best friends. In the forest, near death, Matty convinces Kira to use her gift to meet Leader halfway and tell him that they need help. When Leader gets to them Kira is almost in a coma and Frolic, the puppy, is now dead. He tells Matty its time to use his gift right now. Matty does and brings Kira into a peaceful sleep and Frolic is the energetic puppy he used to be. Kira woke and went to clean Matty's lifeless body. She was glad to see there was no longer any scars, cuts, or bruises any more.
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Leader

Leader is in charge of Village. He has the ability to see beyond. Leader was the most intelligent person in village. He helps Matty with advice. His whole house if filled with books. He made a rule in village that says there will be no secrets kept from the villagers. You could tell Leader anything, even how you felt about something, that's what Matty like most about him. Leader didn't want Matty to go on the journey to get Kira, but he did anyways. Leader uses his gift to meet Kira halfway and he find out they need help so he tells Kira to tell Matty to use his gift. Leader goes to help them but forest ends up entangling him. After Matty dies Leader gives him his true name, Healer.
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Mentor

Mentor is the teacher at Village. Although his true name is Mentor, he was sometimes called Rosy by the children because of the crimson red birthmark that spread across his face. He was a wise patient teacher. Mentor was the one who taught Matty to sit still, to listen, and eventually read. Mentor went to Trade Mart and traded his deepest self. Now he's not the same loving, caring person he once was. He is hardly ever home with his daughter, because he's with Stocktender's Widow. Because Mentor traded his deepest self, he no longer wants to care for the new comers, so he becomes the leader of closing off Village. He no longer has a bald spot on the back of his head and his birthmark is gone. He's gotten taller and straighter, he no longer reads poetry, and his voice sounds different. Mentor would once have of loved a mischievous, naughty puppy, but he ended up kicking it, that's when his daughter Jean knows for a fact that he had changed.
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