Last time on The Selection, we bailed out mid-way through a marathon-length chapter. This time: the rest of that chapter.
So there’s some drama because, like, someone got de-Selected and no one knows why.
I’ve talked about this before, but the whole Selection process would be incredibly uninteresting to watch if success or failure was based entirely on Maxon’s whims, which the audience has no insight into.
There’s a whole lot of the girls being petty and jealous (women am I rite), then America gets some letters from home but let’s skip right past that because who cares.
Did you know we’re almost 75% of the way through this thing, and almost nothing has happened? A lot of the books we read on this blog see to have that particular quality.
Tugging my ear. Whenever.
What’s the point of having a secret signal if they’re still just going to write notes to each other?
She took it eagerly and walked away with a newfound energy. No doubt she would unfold it as soon as she was out of sight, but I felt secure in its odd phrasing.
So, this could backfire really badly if whoever read the note assumed that “tugging my ear” was code for something more salacious than just meeting for a chat, and then started spreading that rumour around. It would make more sense for the code phrase to be something that makes total sense but sounds like something else.
And while we’re on the subject, I don’t really get why America and Maxon are bothering to use codes at all. Theoretically, America doesn’t want the other contestants to know when and how often she’s meeting the prince because it could make her a target, but since she doesn’t want to win and Maxon has already pledged to keep her in the game for as long as possible, that’s a moot point.
Anyway, Maxon rolls up with his jacket off and his shirt sleeves rolled up to a sexy degree, and America suddenly notices that he’s hot (not that she actually realizes this is what’s going on, because she apparently has no insight into her own thoughts or feelings). Apparently he ran out of a budget meeting to come and talk to her.
“They go round and round in circles. Father does a good job at calming the advisers, but it’s so hard to push the committees in any given direction. Mom is always on Father to give more to the school systems—she thinks the more educated you are, the less likely you are to be a criminal, and I agree—but Father is never forceful enough to get them to take away from other areas that could manage perfectly with lower funds.
Hang on a second, Maxon’s dad is the king, not a democratically elected president. He can just tell them what to budget where; if they say no he can have them fired or imprisoned. That’s what absolute monarchs do.
“Well, don’t be too discouraged. Your mom is on the right path, but education alone won’t fix anything.”
This is probably going to be good.
“Well, compared to the fancy-pants tutors someone like you has, the education system for Sixes and Sevens is terrible. I think getting better teachers or better facilities would do them a world of good. But then what about the Eights? Isn’t that caste responsible for most of the crimes?
The Eights are the homeless people, remember.
Yeah, let that nugget of wisdom sink in for a second.
America asks Maxon to imagine that he was starving and asks what he’d do if he had the chance to save himself by stealing from someone who had more than they’d ever need; the implication seems to be that Maxon has never considered this question before, and America is totally blowing his mind right now.
“America, I’m not saying that some people don’t have it hard, but stealing is—”
And America’s follow-up question should be: why do some people have it hard?
In our real-life society, wealth disparity is absolutely an artificial construct. It is not, as many like to believe, the invisible and all-knowing hand of capitalism rewarding and punishing people in accordance with their natural abilities and work ethic, but a system designed to allow the wealthy to get wealthier at the expense of the poor. But it’s also an enormously complicated construct, mostly sustained by people who don’t even realize it exists and don’t understand the role they’re playing in it. It’s not something that can just be erased by decree.
America’s society isn’t like that. The lower castes are poor because of entirely arbitrary laws designed to keep them poor. Maxon’s father could abolish the entire thing with a single stroke of his pen; his refusal to do so is literally the only thing keeping the system as unjust as it is. This is an idea that doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone.
“Maybe you don’t know which face it is yet, but think of the girls in that room. Imagine the one who loves you the most. Imagine your ‘dear.’”
His hand was resting next to mine on the seat, and his fingers grazed mine for a second. I shied away from the touch.
Zomg u guys they’re falling in love
Let’s have some gender essentialism!
“This girl? Imagine that she depends on you. She needs you to cherish her and make her feel like the Selection didn’t even happen. Like if you were dropped on your own out in the middle of the country to wander around door to door, she’s still the one you would have found. She was always the one you would have picked.”
The hopeful smile began to settle. More than settle, it started to sag.
“She needs you to provide for her and protect her. And if it came to a point where there was absolutely nothing to eat, and you couldn’t even fall asleep at night because the sound of her stomach growling kept you awake—”
This is especially strange coming from America, considering her previous relationship fell apart because her asshole boyfriend couldn’t handle the idea that she was capable of providing for herself.
“Is it really like that?” he asked.
“Out there … does that happen? Are people hungry like that a lot?”
Dude, come on.
Rich jackasses know full well that there are starving people in the world–they’re not that sheltered–they just don’t care. They rationalize it away by saying that poor people are too lazy to work themselves out of poverty.
But no, apparently the idea of people going hungry just blows Maxon’s tiny mind, so America drops some truth bombs on him and he becomes totally woke. Is this book nearly over?