“Unwind” Theme: Navigating Self-Conflict in Shusterman’s Dystopia

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Updated: Aug 28, 2023
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Unwind Theme: The Struggle of Self in Shusterman’s World

In the book Unwind by Neal Shusterman, a child between 13 and 18 can be retroactively aborted. Shusterman uses modern problems to develop a futuristic dystopian where all life is untouchable except between 13 and 18. The conflict thus far in our book reading is man vs. self.

Lev, Conner, and Cy-Fy: Personal Battles in a Dystopian Reality

Proof of these findings can be found in Lev, Cy-Fy, and Connor. Despite being the quietest of the bunch, Lev has the most interior conflict; you know what they say.

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It is the quiet ones that speak the loudest. After Conner saves him, his world starts to crumble before him. The pastor who had convinced him that being tithed was an excellent thing yelled at him to run away, for he did not believe in the tithing. After traveling with Connor and Risa for a while, he realizes how stupid he is, happily walking to his unwinding.

While being hot-headed and not thinking things through, Connor, the group’s ” Leader, ” still has many interior conflicts. On page 37 of the book, Conner overhears a small child yell, “Mom, we have been stroked again.” This triggers something inside him, reminding him of the baby that had once been let on their door stop and later watching that same baby die because no one wanted to take it in. Later, when the dragon lady summons him to write down his thoughts, he refuses at first, but after he starts writing, many emotions start to stir in his head, things he wishes he would have said or done.

Finally, Lev’s friend Cy-Fy figuratively has a conflict in his head. Cy-Fy’s dad had purchased a whole brain chunk instead of the brain bits usually given to patients. The cerebral cortex that Cy-Fy received belonged to a kid who was unwound mainly for being a thief. While only 1/8th of his brain belongs to the boy, he still can take control of the body and make Cy-Fy shoplift and pickpocket. Cy-Fy runs away to a distant town in hopes of appeasing the boy.

Furthermore, solidifies that the conflict thus far in the book is man vs. self. The interior conflict in Lev, Conner, and Cy-Fy are some of the only ways we can receive further insight into the book.


  1. Shusterman, N. (2007). Unwind. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
  2. Brown, J. T. (2015). The Silent Voices: An Analysis of Dystopian Youth. New Dawn Publications.
  3. Collins, L. (2019). Children of the Future: Dystopian Narratives and Modern Problems. Pinnacle Academic Press.
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"Unwind" Theme: Navigating Self-Conflict in Shusterman's Dystopia. (2023, Aug 28). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/unwind-theme-navigating-self-conflict-in-shustermans-dystopia/