Kate Padrnos: Messenger

Kate Padrnos
Seventh Grader at Sierra Middle School
Douglas County School District


Messenger by Lois Lowry is a powerful book filled with great examples of compassion and generosity. The main character is named Matty.  Matty’s traits of compassion and generosity touched me in powerful ways.

In the beginning of the book, we learn that Matty lives in a place called Village with a blind man named Seer who came there years before. The Village community is welcoming and will help anyone who needs help. They take in poor, disabled, mistreated misfits and give them a role in their community. They are very generous and will turn no one away. This inspired me to be more welcoming, to never mistreat people and to always be willing to help.  I think that Lois Lowry was trying to convey that we should always be trying to make the world a better place.

One of the most important things that I learned from this book is that we should DO, expecting nothing in return. Throughout the book Matty learns that he has special healing powers just by touching injured things. In the end of the story, their world has changed and is full of evil things. There comes a point in the story where Kira, who is the Seer’s daughter and Matty’s friend, asks Matty to save the world. He is awfully injured at that time by the forest.

Despite all that, he rolls into the mud and reaches out his arms and his hands to feel the earth and he lays there knowing that he will die. This is so amazing to me. In modern society, it is unheard of that if someone was asked to use them self to heal the world after they have just been through so much themselves and know they will receive nothing in return. We do so little and expect so much in return. Matty is doing so much and expecting nothing in return. Lois Lowry writes, “Matty called for his gift to come. There was no sense of how to direct it. He simply clawed at the earth feeling the power in his hands enter pulsating into the ruined world. He became aware, suddenly, that he had been chosen for this.”  This is a great example of compassion. So many people can’t give anything up without receiving something else in return. Matty knew the world would benefit from his healings, but he was the price. He gave himself up and felt free. I think we should all, as a whole, try to do more and expect to receive less. This is a great theme for the book, do more and expect nothing in return.

My final example of compassion and generosity is sacrifice.  Matty’s character is pure and very generous. This made me think about why? Why would he give up his life to save other things so easily? When Kira asked him to die he had no hesitation; no moan, no groan, no crying, he just did it. In the book it says, “He gave himself to it willingly, traded himself for all that he loved and valued and felt free.” That is so powerful. He traded himself, willingly, to save all he loved, and felt free. I wondered what that really meant, to trade yourself and feel free. I think Matty felt free because his character was so pure and he gave himself up. Matty made the ultimate sacrifice. He gave himself up to make the world a better place. Lois Lowry wants us to always be open to making sacrifices. Of course, she does not want us to give up our lives, just be willing to give up more for others.

This book has so much compassion and so much generosity it has changed my perspective on life. I want to try to make the world a better place and be accepting. I will DO and expect nothing in return and I will give up more for others willingly. Above all, I will try to be a better person.