Imagine being a 15 year old orphan with a permanently injured leg living in a society where only the strong, capable people survive and everyone else must fight for their lives. The book “Gathering Blue,” by Lois Lowry, takes place in a world like this one. Kira was raised by her mother in a small village where everyone has their job that they do every day and no one strays from the routine. Since she was born, Kira’s mother has fought for her daughter’s life, as it the custom for any imperfect newborn to be killed, before they can be a bother to everyone else. The idea was to create a perfect civilization by eliminating the weak. The only reason Kira was allowed to live is because her mother convinced the townspeople that Kira was a strong girl and would someday be able to contribute to the community. The people in the town tolerated Kira’s presence only because they didn’t have a choice.
When Kira was 15, her mother got a fatal illness, and when she died, Kira was forced to defend herself against the people of the town. In her society, it would be impossible for her to be accepted as a human. As a cripple, it was difficult for her to find work alongside the other women in the town. Because of her disability, anyone who tried to befriend her would be looked down upon by the rest of the town, simply because she was an outcast. In civilizations where more fortunate people and less fortunate people are kept very separate, and you are either very well-off or very poor, if you are somewhere in the middle, as Kira was, you could very well be rejected by both sides. Kira wasn’t necessarily poor, although she definitely wasn’t well-off, so she was stuck somewhere in the middle, and was shunned by everyone in the town. She was very capable of work in the weaving shed along with some of the other women in the town, but because she had a disability, they would not have her.