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When the Night Comes
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What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

Created: 04/16/15

Replies: 15

Posted Apr. 16, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1318

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What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

Parrett begins her novel with a short poem:

Blue-white ice that floats on a moving sea
It is the opposite of gray
It is the opposite of everything I had known.

What meaning did you ascribe to it, and did the poem affect your reading of the book? Did it mean more to you at the book’s end than it did in the beginning?


Posted Apr. 20, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
francinee

Join Date: 07/25/14

Posts: 14

RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

Often, I don't find poems at the beginning of a book to be significant to me.. In this case, the poem sets the stage for the book. Ilsa and Bo are a study in opposites. Their experiences converge and they each grow as individuals as result of spending two summer seasons with each other. The poem meant more to me at the end of the book since it was clear how each character evolved as a result of their brief encounter.


Posted Apr. 20, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurief

Join Date: 09/08/12

Posts: 25

RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

I interpret it as the persons Bo and Isla start out as at the beginning of the novel and who they evolve to by the end. Their life experiences, there emotions, their maturity.


Posted Apr. 21, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
lindah

Join Date: 04/17/14

Posts: 90

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RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

Dare I say it, I gloss over poetry and seldom ponder the meaning of poems although I love haiku. This seemed a bringing together of different people, cultures in one place in a time that was fleeting; a transient convergence of significance.


Posted Apr. 21, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cprimack

Join Date: 04/20/15

Posts: 6

RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

When I first read it, I believed and still believe the poem to mean that the narrator was doing something one way, what was comfortable to her "everything I had known". But then she tries something different and has a whole new outlook, one with color "blue-white", the narrator made a change on a "moving " sea. And now she is happy, because things ar no longer bland, "gray" or colorless- things are the "opposite." She is happy and sees the world in a new way , in a new color.

You can apply this to any character that changes in a novel. Here, Isla was stuck in a house with her family and only saw the small towns that she lived in. But at the end of the book we get to see that she has taken a travel that Bo had told her about, a big adventure. She is seeing the surrounding new lands and animals in a new color and she is thankful to Bo for introducing this to her, she never would have had this beautiful moment without him and it's definitely different than everything she had ever known before.


Posted Apr. 22, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Suzanne

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 223

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RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

To be honest, I have no feeling about the poem at all. I think often people read something like this, thinking there is some deep meaning that needs to be understood when maybe that just isn't so.


Posted Apr. 23, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joang

Join Date: 05/17/12

Posts: 26

RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

When I first started the book the poem did not hold any significance other than the reference to "the moving sea"... I expected changes. After finishing the book, these changes in people, places and things did occur. The dynamic nature of the sea is reflected in the dynamic nature of relationships.


Posted Apr. 26, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliae

Join Date: 08/23/11

Posts: 12

RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

I agree with Suzanne. The poem did little for me, though I can appreciate what other readers are saying.


Posted Apr. 27, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nancyh

Join Date: 06/25/13

Posts: 147

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RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

I agree with some who said it did not hold much meaning. When I read it at the beginning I thought it was traveling by sea to the Antarctic. I can picture this sea looking like this.


Posted Apr. 27, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Lilly

Join Date: 04/27/15

Posts: 1

RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

I have seen blue-white icebergs in Alaska. I like the image that is presented of how something as simple as an iceberg can change a gray or dull day into something adventurous, unknown, and engaging. I confess that I like to sail and find that being on a sailboat in the ever-changing water and weather is often an opportunity to learn new things about yourself, your companions, and the environment.


Posted Apr. 27, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jeann

Join Date: 11/14/11

Posts: 50

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RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

I am not an authority on poetry, to say the least. I suppose poetry is like art , but expressed in words. When I read the last paragraph of the book I felt that the poem expressed the change in Isla during and after her time with Bo~ from being stuck in her gray world to the beautiful blue-white of possibilities and change represented by the floating and the movement on the sea. I would think that the poem would have been at the end of the story, but that is still what it says me.
I think poetry is like art and music as well, and there is no right way to see it...just an individual's view or interpretation.


Posted Apr. 28, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
deeh

Join Date: 03/03/12

Posts: 158

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RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

I felt that the poem was foreshadowing Antarctica and reminding us that even in a land of ice and rock, there is color there for those who look for it.


Posted Apr. 29, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Sooz

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 35

RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

I liked this short poem which set the tone of a story about the sea. I felt that the blue white ice probably stood for the glaciers which I remembered seeing in Alaska and they truly were blue and white ice. Gray colors are a bit depressing and after finishing the book, I felt that both Isla and Bo had their depressing and lonely days but once their relationship deepened, the opposite occurred and they experienced happy times together.


Posted May. 06, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
tracyb

Join Date: 09/22/11

Posts: 63

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RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

The poem spoke to me of Bo his life/ the voyage on Nella Dan was an important part of his life the bright side. Land was gray not quite as energetic.

The next page speaks to Isla's wanting to be on the ship. " a round porthole that let the light in. All I needed. It was never dark-it was never night." Hope comes to mind as I write this.


Posted May. 07, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
andreab

Join Date: 07/29/14

Posts: 71

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RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

I have never understood nor enjoyed poetry in the past, though not for lack of trying. I think I am just too literal. The only thing I thought the poem referred to was that the person started out with a relatively drab existence until he is traveling on the sea where life is experienced with new depth and clarity.


Posted May. 21, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cookie1135

Join Date: 05/21/15

Posts: 3

RE: What did you make of the poem at the opening of the novel?

I felt the poem gave us a glimpse into the beauty that can be found even when surrounded by the ice, cold and rocks....I felt it set the tone for happy times....I really enjoyed the poem...


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