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Migrations


A breathtaking page-turner and an ode to our threatened world.
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What do Arctic terns symbolize in the novel, and why are Franny and Niall so drawn to them in particular?

Created: 08/05/21

Replies: 14

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2710

What do Arctic terns symbolize in the novel, and why are Franny and Niall so drawn to them in particular?

Arctic terns have the longest natural migration of any animal, and during their lives they may travel the equivalent distance of to the moon and back three times. What do Arctic terns symbolize in the novel, and why are Franny and Niall so drawn to them in particular?


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

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 21

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

I think the Arctic terns represent hope and endurance. I am reminded of Emily Dickinson's "Hope is a thing with feathers" and I think the terns with their awe-inspiring annual migration represent some hope for the continued existence of the wild in the face of human destruction.


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

Join Date: 02/26/21

Posts: 25

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

Exactly what barbarae said.


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

Join Date: 01/31/13

Posts: 106

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

The terns are the last to survive in part because their annual migration is so trying and long. It makes them stronger and by studying them we can learn about survival but they also symbolize the hope of survival. While the terns still exist and migrate, so maybe can humankind.


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

Join Date: 11/05/17

Posts: 65

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

Endurance and tenacity. Terns represent the qualities that we as humans will employ to survive also. They give us hope.


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

Join Date: 08/06/21

Posts: 15

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

The ability of resist the restrictions the world puts on wildness through perseverance, adaptability, and fidelity. The willingness to endure hardship to be what you truly are.


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

Join Date: 07/03/18

Posts: 18

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

To me the terns symbolize life itself, and as barbarae said, hope. The fact that they have longest migration of any bird seems to prove that live can continue regardless of hardship. The migration is also heroic, showing the will (or instinct) to set out into the unknown.


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

Join Date: 03/25/17

Posts: 124

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

Endurance, tenacity, life, and hope. We all need that as what the book describes becomes our reality.


Posted Aug. 09, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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charlaw

Join Date: 09/06/16

Posts: 19

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

Hope and persistence. Hope because there is hope for the future. And, persistence which is driven by the hope.


Posted Aug. 10, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 305

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

I agree with many of the others that the terns symbolize hope, endurance, and tenacity- -a fierce spirit! I also see them as a symbol of the relationship between Niall and Franny. Franny was the migrating tern, who would always return to where she started. Niall's acceptance and love for exactly who she was was revealed to me in his adamant distaste for changing the tern from a migrating bird to one who stayed in one place and ate seeds. "Migration is inherent to their nature." Humans destroy things. He didn't want to subject the terns to forced adaptations due to devastation caused by humans. I think the same can be said for Franny. She had faced enough devastation in her life through no fault of her own. Niall wanted to protect her from having to change the way she coped.


Posted Aug. 10, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
charlaw's Gravatar
charlaw

Join Date: 09/06/16

Posts: 19

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

Beautifully said!!


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

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 305

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

I would now change my use of the word coped. I wouldn't use the word cope to describe how animals survive in this world. I think adapted might be a better choice.


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

Join Date: 04/16/12

Posts: 18

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

I agree. Endurance and the will to survive. They developed a migration path that was unique to them. While other species became extinct, they persisted.


Posted Aug. 12, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
barbettet

Join Date: 10/01/20

Posts: 19

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

Nearly all of the prior comments show the terns as hope, endurance and survival. More important is Naill's remarkable acceptance of Franny's migrations. He understands what she has had to endure in order to survive and does not force her to change into someone who has to be confined to one place--both Franny and the birds would have lost their nature and their wildness.


Posted Sep. 01, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Marcia C

Join Date: 01/28/21

Posts: 8

RE: What do Arctic terns symbolize in ...

The Arctic terns historically flew the farthest and longest during their migrations than any other birds and farther and longer than any other animals on earth, indicating that they perhaps, were the hardiest of all species. Their survival, or lack thereof, represented the lack of survival for all untamed species on earth.


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