The Passage

A Novel by Justin Cronin

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Character Analysis

The main protagonist of The Passage is Amy Bellafonte, a girl abandoned by her mother at age six. Left in a convent, Amy is soon retrieved by federal agents and brought to Chicago, where she becomes the final subject in a top secret government program, that goes horribly wrong. Left to wander alone with her new, seemingly endless life, Amy wanders for years trying to find who and what she is.

Amy is a very mysterious character, with very little being revealed about her for long periods of time. She is first described as a young girl, but the first true description of her isn't found until Amy first appears at the colony in Los Angeles. She is described as being between the ages of thirteen and sixteen, with long dark hair. She is also capable of communicating with animals and the virals(people infected with the virus). Perhaps Amy's most powerful trait is he extreme loneliness. Being abandoned at an early age, Amy constantly looks for someone or something to latch on to. The first is her stuffed bear Peter, followed by Sister Lacey, a nun at the convent she was left at, then the federal agent who is sent to retrieve her. The government program succeeds on Amy, but in turn prolongs her loneliness, as she wanders across the remains of civilization for nearly ninety years alone until she discovers a colony of survivors in Los Angeles, which is when she finally makes her first long lasting connection with Peter, one of the colonists. She then does her best to fit in with the colonists as they travel back to Colorado. Throughout the book, she also thinks back to the man who loved her, Brad Wolgast, indicating that she longs for an emotional connection. Perhaps the greatest example of Amy's loneliness is when she asks, "Are we the all? For I have seen no one , no man or woman, in all the years and years. Is there no I but I?" After saving Peter from the Virals at an abandoned shopping center, she then states, "Where are they? The men and women on their horses that i should go to them and find them? For I have been alone through all the years and years, no I but I."

Development

Throughout the novel, both the setting and characterization develop the plot, showing us how desperate the human race is to survive. The main setting of the novel is in a colony in southern California, about 90 years after the first outbreak of the virus that destroyed society. Surrounded by massive walls with firing platforms and guards, the colonists inside are prohibited from leaving the colony, excluding members of the watch and power station workers, who only leave for brief periods of time to send relief crew to the power plant. Many of the colonists believe that they will be safe inside the walls, although other colonists know that the colony will not stand much longer, as the batteries that power the colony are dying. Another case of the desperation comes later in the book when we learn of another group of survivors. These survivors however, are so desperate to live that they sacrifice 4 cattle and 2 humans to the virals every month in return for their safety. The plot is also developed through characterization. Each character develops on their own, developing new opinions and ideas as the book progresses. Theo Jaxon for example, decides to stay behind in an abandoned house with the mother of his child to protect her from any harm while the baby is still unborn, showing a caring side of him that we were not previously exposed to. Another example is Arlo Wilson, who stays behind at the power station to protect it from a viral attack, showing us his courage and bravery. We also see his caring side when, after being infected, returns back to the colony to see his daughter one lats time before acceting his death.

Evaluation

The Passage is an extremely well written, well developed book that will hook committed readers into it. Despite its very slow, and at at times boring start, the book quickly turns that all around by flipping the world as we know it upside-down. The book establishes characters that face problems and emotions that readers would be able to relate to. The style of the book allows readers to feel the fear that each character faces, to feel frustrated by the problems they face, and to try to think of their won solution. The up and down flow f the novel makes us believe we have finally overcome a problem, only to be hit by an even bigger one. The Passage finds the perfect blend between giving us the information that we want, and then making us ask even more questions. Combining many different genres into one novel allows The Passage to take hold of anyone that can make it through the first 100 pages or so. All in all, i would recommend this book to anyone who finds themselves in search of a book that will keep them nailed to the edge of their chair.
The Passage - book trailer