Literature Essay Sample – Unwind Novel

What was the main catalysts for change for each character?


The popular novel “Unwind” by Neal Shusterman is full of characters that change and grow as the story unfolds. The story takes place after a serious civil war ravages through the United States over the right to abortion. At the conclusion of the war, an agreement is made whereby parents can sign an order for their child between the age of 13 and 18 to be “unwound.” This means the child will be sent to a harvest camp where the child will have their body parts harvested for future use. (Wikipedia, 2015)
Connor is one such child whose parents decide to have him unwound because he causes trouble at school and gets into fights. When he gets thrown into the camp with the other unwinds, he is initially rugged and defiant. After he begins a relationship with Risa, Connor learns to trust his instincts and abandon his brash impulses. He rationalizes more and eventually becomes a leader. (Enotes, 2015)
Risa exists on the other end of Connor. Whereby Connor rushes into action, Risa takes careful consideration of everything. This transfers over to Connor when they become close. Because she sees Connor as a brute, she initially wants nothing to do with him. She eventually finds her hidden talents by following Connors lead. She becomes the martyr to Connor’s heroic activities, sacrificing herself for the Admiral. (Enotes, 2015)
Lev is another character who undergoes a character change in “Unwind.” Although he is an intelligent child who has many skills, he will be unwound because he is a tithe. Through the counseling of Pastor Dan, Lev eventually accepts his fate. However, Connor rescues him from untimely demise. This upsets Lev, as he feels his death is what God wants. Still, Pastor Dan counsels the young boy to accept this fate and that his abilities also come from God. Lev’s confusion is in contrast to the other two, steadfast characters. (Enotes, 2015)

Shusterman applies his personal beliefs to this thrilling tale. By showing the disfigurement of teens, the author hopes to awaken readers to the reality of abortion and what it means. By filling his title with compelling characters who undergo a serious metamorphosis, he hopes the readers will follow suit and find a middle ground on this serious issue. (Peters, 2013)

Unwind (novel). (2015, September 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:41, October 2, 2015, from
Unwind Characters – (n.d.). Retrieved October 2, 2015, from
Peters, C. (2013, January 28). ‘Unwind’ book series brings powerful themes to mind. Retrieved October 2, 2015, from

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