In the dystopian novel Legend by Marie Lu, the author develops the theme of how nothing is as it seems. In order to develop this theme, the author used the literary technique of point of view throughout the story, switching back and forth between Day and June’s point of view. The examples the author uses are the Trial exams, Kaede being a Patriot, and Metias’ death.
To begin, the author develops a theme as nothing being as it seems with the Trial exams. In this novel, everyone is brought up to believe that any kids who fail the Trial are taken away from their families and sent to labor camps.
This was the way June Iparis was brought up to believe, coming from a rich family. However, Day, a boy who was born into a poor family and brought up in a poor sector, knew the truth about this since he had failed his Trial and had managed to escape.
June states ‘How did you escape the labor camps? How did you end up terrorizing Los Angeles when you should’ve been working for the Republic?’ (p. 170) while later on in the story, Day states, ‘You think we go to labor camps if we fail? June, the only labor camps are the morgues in hospital basements’ (p. 204).
This is significant because it allows June to discover that the Republic has lied to everyone and that they are using these children that fail their Trials for experimenting. Furthermore, this also leads her to discover that the Republic intentionally infects the poor with the plague every year to test out and study the virus to use against their enemy known as the Colonies.
Second, the theme is developed through the point of view with Kaede being a Patriot. Day met Kaede while looking for information about a person who supposedly had plague cures that he needed for his family. He had simply thought of her as a bartender who was “kind of pretty in the flickering lamplight, with glittering green powder over her smooth lidded eyes and a short, black, bobbed haircut. A vine tattoo snakes down her neck and disappears into her corseted shirt.
A dirty pair of goggles—probably against bar fights—hangs around her neck” (p.69-70). He realized that she was a Skiz fighter too but never imagined that she could be a Patriot. June also had an encounter with Kaede as well when she accidentally stepped into a Skiz fight and stood up for Tess when she saw that the fight was unfair. June also had not suspected her to be a Patriot either but found out from Day after Thomas had told him.
After Thomas had interrogated him, Day stated to June, “Apparently Kaede’s a Patriot. Small world, huh?” (p. 228). This is significant because the fact that she is a Patriot helps June when she plots Day’s jail escape. June asks Kaede for the Patriots’ help in breaking Day out of jail before his execution date.
Lastly, the author reinforces her theme through the point of view of Metias’ death. June states “He doesn’t kill. So why Metias? Day could’ve made his escape without killing him. […] It couldn’t have been accidental—that knife went straight through Metias’ heart” (p. 48). On the other hand, Day states “the face-off with Metias, the way I’d thrown my knife at him. I’d seen it hit his shoulder, so far from his chest that it couldn’t possibly have killed him” (p. 229).
At the beginning of the novel, June was led to believe that Day was responsible for her brother’s death but as the story progresses, she comes to realize that she had been deceived by people close to her and that the truth was far more disturbing than she could have imagined.
This is significant because she realizes that she cannot trust the people who she’d known all her life, and ends up trusting people she’d never imagined she would come to trust.
To conclude, the theme of Legend by Marie Lu is that nothing is as it seems. The author uses point of view to establish her theme and the examples she uses are the Trials, Kaede being a Patriot, and Metias’ death.
There is a quote by an author, Victoria Freudiger, that says “Nothing is ever as it seems if you are looking inside someone else’s viewpoint.” This holds true for June as she discovers that her brother’s murderer is not Day and that his true murderer is someone far closer to her than she would have ever expected.
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