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Headscratchers / The Long Walk

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  • Isn't there a pretty big loophole in the Long Walk? Namely, the fact that The Prize is whatever the winner wants it to be? So theoretically, the winner could request that no more Long Walks ever be held, so that no one else will ever have to suffer what he did. And even if he died of exhaustion minutes later, the government would have no choice but to end the Long Walk forever. Because that's the rule—the winner gets what he wants.
  • A minor one, but: Roger Fenum is number 13. Ray Garraty is number 47. Does that mean that there were over 30 boys in the Walk whose last names began with F?
    • Towards the end of the book, a broadcast is described where the Major draws the 100 walkers one-by-one from a group of names, the remaining 100 being the back-ups. I assume that the numbers were assigned in the order the names were drawn, not in alphabetical order.
      • That ignores the fact that ALL the names/numbers shown in the text are in alphabetical order.
      • Also, Abraham flat-out says that he was fifteenth out of the drum. He's number 2. With Aaronson at 1 and Zuck at 100, I think it's pretty clear the numbers are supposed to be alphabetical.
      • It's not exactly likely, but it's possible. In a dystopian setting where people get Released to Elsewhere all the time and a brutal conflict like WWII went on for several years after it ended in real life and pruned back most family trees, it could be that one or several surnames beginning with F are just that much more common. If you expand some of the implications about the in-universe cultural climate as of WWII and assume there's a following delay of the Civil Rights movement, and assuming that the major historical figures still existed in their right times, it wouldn't be all that strange for those thirty boys to all be named Freeman.
  • How could the Major have planned Stebbins turning into a borderline superhuman Walker by telling him he does not care that Stebbins is his son for his "white rabbit" plan?
    • Stebbins Sanity was slipping at that point, he possibly made that up or was imagining it.
    • The other characters point out to each other frequently that none of them really know what inspired them to agree to a suicidal thing like the Long Walk: was it a whim? Do they really want the Prize? Do they just want to die? Stebbins is the only one there who really knows why he's walking, and it's enough to keep him going for a very long time. I took it as him having known all along that he wasn't the Major's only son, but being able to delude himself that the Major would still have to take him in, up until the end, when the Walk finally gets to him the way it already did everyone else.

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