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The Knife of Never Letting Go, Dystopian Literature

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    “But a knife ain’t just a thing, is it? It’s a choice, it’s something you do. A knife says yes or no, cut or not, die or don’t. A knife takes a decision out of your hand and puts it in the world and it never goes back again.” “The Knife of Never Letting Go” by Patrick Ness, is truly, an extraordinary piece of literature. The story is about a boy named Todd, who is about to be a man, in one month’s time. Todd lives in the New Word, a world where you can hear everyone’s thoughts, called The Noise. And because the world is so noisy, there are no kept secrets. So it’s a world free of lies, and secrets, Right? Todd lives in a town called Prentisstown. Where there are no Women, all men, in a town full of men’s Noise, constantly raging on, and on, even when you sleep, there’s noise, noise, noise! Sounds like enough to drive anyone insane. The only peace is out in the swamp, where it’s only the animal’s noise. Todd and his dog, Manchee, are out in the swamp one day when they come across a girl, a real girl, who goes by the name of Viola. She has no noise, she’s completely silent. “There’s a hole in the noise. Which can’t be. its WEIRD, it is, out there, hiding somewhere, in the trees, or somewhere outta sight, a spot where yer ears and yer mind are telling you there’s no noise.” {Todd half discovers Viola} Todd realizes he shouldn’t have meet Viola, and the town of Prentisstown, is angry. Throughout the book, Viola and Todd are being chased. By Prentisstown, an ARMY. In this story, its up to Todd to save Viola, himself, and the other settlements, to warn them of the fast approaching army, that will soon overcome Haven, “The safe city” Its a race. GAME ON.

    In the beginning, there was no government, or authority; this is an example of a(n) Anarchy. The people from their own planets, like Earth, came to “The New World” (and that’s what the planet in this story is called continuously throughout this book.) When the people got there finally, after months and months of space travel, they landed; there were no settlements at that time, just aliens called Spackle. The people of “The New World” Wondered about, and the group eventually split up, from the original landing spot, named
    Haven. A group split off and collected into towns, and for a time when it was Anarchy, it was Chaos. The Spackle was friendly, but the people didn’t think of it. Multiple towns were created; some examples are like some in the book, Haven, Farbranch, and Todd’s home, Prentisstown.

    Each town is a different state; they have their own laws and Leaders. Throughout the book, the forms of government in each town is different, its a little harder to understand at some times, but also, there is something the people of the new world are keeping a secret from Todd, giving little bits of information out, that, to Todd’s frustration, lead nowhere. At first, Prentisstown’s government seems simple enough, just a local town. The person(s) in charge are the towns mayor, Mr., Prentiss, and his son, Prentiss Jr. Him and his religious followers are constantly trying a way to “Organize” their noise, when Todd and his dog Manchee walk by, he hears them chanting, “ 12344321 I am the circle and the circle is me, 12344321 If one of us falls, we all fall. It feels like a threat. It feels like the world changing and leaving you behind” -Todd, pg., 28. At the end of the book, it seems it takes a new twist, a turn for the worse, the government has completely, changed, to a(n) Totalitarian Dictatorship. By mayor of “New Prentisstown” Mayor Prentiss. He has all the power and all fear him, for the town has a secret. The unspoken law of the story is that the people of Prentisstown cannot tell Todd the secret until he becomes a man, at age 13.

    To be a citizen in a state, or country, or a place that generally has a government, there are rules a citizen must follow, or that person is responsible to participate in that Government. The role of a citizen in Prentisstown, one characteristic of being a citizen is to keep the towns secret, well, a secret, from young boys who have yet to become men, Todd, being the last one in town to become a man, has been kept in the dark all his life about what REALLY happened in Prentisstown. Another characteristic of Prentisstown is that, you can’t leave, because of what happened back when Todd was a baby. The town was exiled, no other towns or settlements wanted anything to do with Prentisstown. And If you were to try to leave, or were caught attempting to escape, you would be killed. You finally become an official “Citizen” of Prentisstown once you turned 13, and once you pass the
    inauguration, and lose your “innocence”. (Losing innocence means you have spilled blood before, the blood of another human.) And then congratulations! You’re a cold-blooded murder-I mean, citizen! (Good save loyal citizen) These are some characteristics of being a good Prentisstown citizen!

    In this book, there are some events that you could consider, potentially real, meaning, some things in this book, could happen to be reality. There are people out there who are completely power hungry, like Mr. Prentiss. Yet I believe he’s driven by religious beliefs, Following Aaron, who was the town’s preacher. Their belief was so big, they took action, and went all out to make the rest of their world follow and believe them, another example of how in the end, the government turned out to be a Totalitarian Dictatorship. “I look back at mayor Prentiss. Oh, its PRESIDENT Prentiss now, he says. You’ll do well to remember that.” The message of this part of the story, is making choices, a symbol of the choice, is the knife, that Ben gave to Todd before he left, the quote from the top of the essay is an example of this. In life its DO, or DON’T and sometimes, that’s a scary decision. For me, I think, “What could my decision do?” Mostly just what the positives and negatives in a situation are, it also depends partly on how fast you brain processes info, sometimes decisions should be made in a split second, like when Todd had to decide it was either Manchee, or Viola… My advice is go with your gut, if you know it’s a bad choice, then don’t do it! Make good choices, and believe in yourself. This is what I predict, was the author warning.

    Throughout this fast-pace post-apocalyptic book, there are major problems. Anarchy, setting the game for an all out, Totalitarian Dictatorship government run! Rules and regulations that MUST be followed in this game of life and death, and the strange similarities and realizations that, what happens in this book, can happen in reality. Life is about choices, we don’t have to fear our choices, and we have to own them. Kind of makes me sick to my stomach. The book was an amazing action-filled page-turner! Which I personally loved. Its always hard for me to find new book series that keep me interested long enough. For I lose interest after, one or two books. Yet this one kept me in-tune. And I am excited to read the next one! The
    cliffhanger sucked me in. I’m dying inside wanting to know what happens to young Todd.

    I recommend this as an, excellent story for anyone wanting to try a Dystopian literature.

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    The Knife of Never Letting Go, Dystopian Literature. (2016, Oct 17). Retrieved from

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    Is Chaos Walking based on The Knife of Never Letting Go?
    Chaos Walking is a 2021 sci-fi dystopian action film directed by Doug Liman from a screenplay by Patrick Ness and Christopher Ford. It is based on Ness's science fiction trilogy Chaos Walking, adapting its first book, 2008's The Knife of Never Letting Go.
    What is the main idea of The Knife of Never Letting Go?
    The loss of innocence is an important theme in young adult literature because the loss of innocence typically signifies the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. In The Knife of Never Letting Go, the boys of Prentisstown become men when they lose their innocence by committing a violent act.

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