Animal Dreams Essay

723 Words Feb 25th, 2007 3 Pages
For many, true self-discovery takes a lifetime to achieve. In Barbara Kingsolver's novel, Animal Dreams, main character Codi Noline locates the individual masked beneath her various facades. Through flashbacks and narration shifts, the story of a bright and rebellious girl's exodus and eventual return to her constrictive hometown, where she copes with the deaths of her controlling, intransigent and disdainful father and adored sister Hallie. At first, Codi is unable to prescribe a personality or trust herself; however, she later comprehends the significance of the stability and comfort that comes with understanding oneself.
As Codi herself declares: "few people know…clearly what they want. Most people can't even think what to hope for
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They'll believe anything if you throw in enough detail. Once I spent a transatlantic flight telling a somber, attentive man about a medical procedure I'd helped invent in Paris…I would be accepting a prestigious medical prize, the name of which I invented on the spot" (Kingsolver 12). This confession only re-emphasizes the continuing theme throughout the book: Codi honestly does not recognize who she is. She deceives herself, family and friends and even complete strangers in this regard. The death of Codi's best friend and younger sister Hallie is the main origin of Codi's self-discovery. An obvious change in Codi is made evident when, in conversation with a stranger, she discloses information on the death of her sister, whom the woman had actually spoken to on the phone when Hallie had answered a hotline. As can be seen, the juxtaposed events in the beginning and end of the book emphasize Codi's change. More honest with herself and others, Codi is now ale to interpret her emotions and act accordingly. This newly developed proficiency guides Codi in her decision to settle in her hometown and stay with high-school flame Loyd, which is also in contrast to previous relationships in which an agreement, permitting departure at any time, was made. On her way back, she snaps out of a depression: "I felt crowded with all the sensory messages that make up life, as opposed to survival, and recognized this as something close to joy…the land stretched out under me …hiding

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