The Ask and the Answer Themes & Motifs

Patrick Ness
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Use of Manipulation by Those in Power

Both Prentiss and Mistress Coyle use Todd and Viola’s love for one another, as well as their desire to fight for what is right, to manipulate them. Mistress Coyle uses her powers of manipulation to get Viola to join the Answer while Prentiss attempts to lure Todd to be his surrogate son. As the novel progresses, Tod and Viola learn that while love can be manipulated, it can also be one’s greatest strength.

Viola is in an especially tight spot because she is manipulated both by Prentiss and by Mistress Coyle. This manipulation is particularly obvious at the beginning of the novel when both of these tyrants try to use Viola as a pawn to get information about the other. Mistress Coyle is particularly mean in her manipulation because she uses Viola’s love for Todd against her...

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This section contains 2,184 words
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