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Significance of StarsEssay

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¶ … Stars

Kate DiCamillo's "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" sais it all from the title: although unaware at first, the reader will witness something miraculous happening. This Bildungsroman abounds in symbols, the most powerful one of all being the stars. They are the companion of the main character for a good deal of what it will be a long and complicated journey. This journey stretches over continents and the ocean, even going under, and covers several generations.

The way the narrator sets the tone is always in a crescendo. As it gets deeper and deeper into what starts like a fairytale, DiCamillo starts distilling tiny drops of real life in it until it becomes almost unbearable. Very soon, the reader suspects the rabbit is the symbol of something much more profound than an inanimate object, a doll companion of a ten-year-old. So, instead of continuing to sit comfortably and diving into what appears to be a nice fireside story about a porcelain rabbit and his mistress, a lovely ten-year-old girl, named Abilene, one is bound to sharpen one's senses and follow the narration closely in order not to miss something important.

The first encounter with the stars happens by the end of Chapter 1, when one is finding out about Edward's preference to look at the stars all night. So far, besides enjoying looking at his own reflection in the window after the sun has set, his gazing at the stars seems to be the other single pleasurable way for him to pass time: "Sometimes, if Abilene put him into his bed on his side instead of on his back, he could see through the cracks in the curtains and out into the dark night. On clear nights, the stars shone, and their pinprick light comforted Edward in a way that he could not quite understand. Often, he stared at the stars all night until the dark finally gave way to dawn"(DiCamillo, 16).

By the end of chapter 1, the reader feels like the narrator is playing a tiresome game of hide and seek. As soon as the story departs from a fairytale about a girl and her love for a china rabbit she got as a birthday gift from her grandmother, it takes a step back and returns to what it initially felt like. Until chapter 4, the most powerful symbol that was clearly indicating that there really was a miraculous journey ahead of all those involved, was the presence of the stars in Edward Tulane's life and their effect on him. The wonderful girl who cared for him and hugged him and even treated him like a real person and friend could not offer him a comfort only the stars inexplicably provided to him. One already knows by now that Edward was pleased with himself and liked his appearances, and that he "was not very interested in what people had to say." Were he a usual character in a usual story about a girl and her rabbit companion, there would be nothing out of the ordinary with this information. But since the narrator already had let us know it is not the case, this sounds like an important clue for what was to come.

Chapter four will soon shed light on the nature of Edward Tulane. The stars will again provide the key to his current state. As soon as the narrator announces a potential change of scenery, the atmosphere becomes laden with a sense of an impending catastrophe. The night Abilene finds out she was going to go oversees, on a journey with her parents, her grandmother tells her the story she was promising from the beginning, but had postponed ever since: "ONCE THERE WAS A PRINCESS WHO was very beautiful. She shone as bright as the stars on a moonless night. But what difference did it make that she was beautiful? None. No difference." "Why did it make no difference?" asked Abilene. "Because," said Pellegrina, "she was a princess who loved no one and cared nothing for love, even though there were many who loved her." (29) So far in the story, one thing was clear: Edward Tulane was suffering from some sort of state that needed comfort, almost like suffering from an unknown chronic disease. The way the story unfolds, lets the reader think the actual character is actually trapped in a paralyzed body. After… [END OF PREVIEW]

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