The Knife of Never Letting Go
Patrick Ness
Contributed by Carey Speaks
Symbols are objects or figures that artists use to represent an idea.
The Knife

The knife represented the connection Todd and Ben share. Todd had been hoping that Ben would give him that knife for his birthday as it practically cuts anything. It also represents Ben’s love for Todd because he wanted to ensure Todd could protect himself (Ness 46). The knife is also symbolic of power, choices, and the decisions Todd has to make regarding the rite of passage. “A powerful thing, like I’d have to agree to be a part of it...” (Ness 68). He acknowledges that the knife would only take the decision from him if he used it to kill (Candlewick Press).

The Journal

The journal belonging to Todd’s mother represents maternal love for a child. Even while Todd was just a day old, his mother had already developed a profound love for her son, seeing him as the most beautiful thing (Ness). Todd’s action of letting Viola read the journal represents their new connection and Todd’s acceptance of the vulnerability he felt about not being able to read. The journal also shows the importance of education and symbolizes the price of ignorance. Had Todd focused on learning how to read, he would have been able to warn Farbranch settlers about the army (Ness 86, 173).

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