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Migrations


A breathtaking page-turner and an ode to our threatened world.
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Why does Franny have so much trouble staying, even with the people she most loves? Do you sympathize? Niall tells Franny, "There's a difference between wandering and leaving...you've never once left me." Do you agree?

Created: 08/05/21

Replies: 12

Posted Aug. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2710

Why does Franny have so much trouble staying, even with the people she most loves? Do you sympathize? Niall tells Franny, "There's a difference between wandering and leaving...you've never once left me." Do you agree?

Franny says: "It isn't fair to be the kind of creature who is able to love but unable to stay." Why does she have so much trouble staying, even with the people she most loves? Did you find that aspect of her character sympathetic? Right before their car accident, Niall tells Franny, "There's a difference between wandering and leaving. In truth, you've never once left me." Do you agree?


Posted Aug. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alisonf

Join Date: 01/31/13

Posts: 106

RE: Why does Franny have so much trouble...

This was a beautiful line in this book and yes I believe she wandered and didn't leave but had she not had the ability to wander she may have had to leave. Niall was the most grounded person in her entire life but he was the one that most respected her need to wander and "studied" that trait in her not unlike his study of the birds. She really did test him but she was worth the annoyance of her leaving because he wanted her to be herself and he was able to help her move past her history.


Posted Aug. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Andrea

Join Date: 08/31/18

Posts: 27

RE: Why does Franny have so much trouble...

I think that Franny was not searching for love in her wanderings so much as for a suitable environment that would give her a sense of belonging/kinship, offer her opportunities to flourish, and provide her with the security required to establish roots/nest. Living in isolation and feeling constant endangerment would do little to encourage one to stay put. For this reason, I also view Niall's assertion as true.


Posted Aug. 06, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
windellh

Join Date: 11/05/17

Posts: 65

RE: Why does Franny have so much trouble...

I too like andrea feel that Franny was seeking a place where she fit in and accepted for who she was.


Posted Aug. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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pauj

Join Date: 04/26/14

Posts: 48

RE: Why does Franny have so much trouble...

I think that when Franny got too close to someone, it felt too much like her relationship with her mother, who left her. Franny chose to leave out of fear that she was left.


Posted Aug. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mceacd

Join Date: 07/03/18

Posts: 18

RE: Why does Franny have so much trouble...

There was so much life for Franny to see. She felt wandering was part of her nature and accepted the urge to wander as inevitable. Even though she searched for the “hidden clues to life,” she hurt others badly in doing so. Her actions took no heed to the pain she caused. This aspect of her character would be hard to forgive. Caring for her would be difficult for anyone. Only Niall understood this aspect of her character and chose to forgive. He understood her wildness, understood that she always stayed connected to him in spirit, even though it might end in tragedy.


Posted Aug. 08, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
michellem

Join Date: 03/12/14

Posts: 10

RE: Why does Franny have so much trouble...

The obvious trauma of where her mother went caused everything that happened to her. Where was the consoling that she needed from a therapist and she certainly didn't get it from her grandmother. Her grandmother blamed Franny for what her own daughter did to her.


Posted Aug. 11, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 305

RE: Why does Franny have so much trouble...

So much of Franny's early years were kept from her. She doesn't remember her father or understand why she and her mother left Australia. But at her young age, Franny sensed that she was different- -that she didn't belong. She explored and roamed in a search to find herself. "I wandered along those curving walls...I knew they must lead to the place from where I truly came." Her difference was reinforced- -and not in a good way after her mother left her- -blaming Franny before it even happened.

I think most of all it is a part of who she is. (Her grandmother wandered, her mother...) Some people are restless and need space and distance. I think back to many trips I have taken and how I have wished, oh how I have wished that they did not have an end--that I could keep moving to see more of what is out there, to feel free and unencumbered. A journey is an opportunity to escape one's "real life" and responsibilities for awhile. A journey is an opportunity to detach and refocus so that we can be more present once we return.

What if there was nothing wrong with Franny's roaming? What if it really was inherent to who she was? What if it was a part of her that no one had ever understood or accepted until Niall? We like to attach labels to people who don't follow accepted norms and search for reasons to explain their behavior. Maybe that just isn't necessary. I admire her for doing what come natural to her instead of doing what society told her she was supposed to do.

(I am not denying that she has unresolved issues and suffers the affects of childhood trauma. I don't think they are the primary reasons for her leaving.)


Posted Aug. 18, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judithc

Join Date: 02/28/20

Posts: 29

RE: Why does Franny have so much trouble...

I too think this is one of many beautiful lines in this book. I think Niall understands Franny more than she understands herself. Franny has a hard time facing reality. Niall seems to ground her without holding her back


Posted Aug. 20, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
tmmarti

Join Date: 03/12/20

Posts: 11

RE: Why does Franny have so much trouble...

For me, one of the most interesting aspects of the book is the comparison of this young woman to the birds she’s following, and the idea of whether a creature should be forced to adapt to different behaviors if it goes against their true nature, even if it ultimately means their very survival. There’s a scientist who believes that if the birds can be trained to eat grasses instead of fish, they can continue to migrate and so their species will be saved. But this begs the question of whether behaviors should be manipulated at the expense of the animal’s true nature. Similarly, this young woman is dealing with many issues, the most striking being her wanderlust. This is inscribed in her DNA, it’s at her very core, it makes her who she is. There are times she just feels compelled to leave, without word or explanation to those she loves, including her mother as a young girl, and her husband as a grown woman. Similar to the terns, can her core, her very nature be changed to live a more commonly accepted existence as a wife and mother? Her husband’s deep love and ultimate wishes for her at the end of the book are startling, and come with heartbreaking consequences.


Posted Aug. 21, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
pauj's Gravatar
pauj

Join Date: 04/26/14

Posts: 48

RE: Why does Franny have so much trouble...

tmmarti, very insightful!


Posted Sep. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
scottishrose

Join Date: 07/24/11

Posts: 114

RE: Why does Franny have so much trouble...

I agree with the idea that it is possible to wander without leaving. I guess it depends on whether the person left behind believes you will always return. When it comes to Franny and Niall, she is kind of like the terns. They always return to the same place, just like Franny returns to Niall. He seemed to understand her need to be free and was willing to let her be free rather than cage her in. I think had she been "caged" she would have had to leave. Interestingly Niall's mother seemed to be the one that stood beside Franny, in her son's stead, after his death. Penny had also mentioned how bad she felt about keeping the birds in cages. It doesn't really say so, but you have to wonder how complicit Penny was in helping Franny to get away, in her effort to spread Niall's ashes among the terns.


Posted Sep. 19, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
edie

Join Date: 04/05/12

Posts: 46

RE: Why does Franny have so much trouble...

Throughout the book, Franny is driven by instincts that she does not choose, but that compel her. One is her sense of belonging to the sea which, all her life, has drawn her like a magnet to itself. The other, is her instinct to wander and not live in one place, even when it hurts her and harms the people she loves most. It is like the instinct in the Arctic Terns that drive it to follow it's dangerous migration route to the Antarctic every year. But the book's title does not just refer to the birds' journey; it also refers to Franny's.


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