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The Survivors


Even the deepest secrets rise to the surface in this thrilling mystery from New ...
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In what ways do the idea of the caves, and the risks and pleasures they offer, permeate the novel?

Created: 01/28/21

Replies: 12

Posted Jan. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2674

In what ways do the idea of the caves, and the risks and pleasures they offer, permeate the novel?

The treacherous caves in Evelyn Bay are the location for several major events in this book. It is near here that Finn and Toby died and where Kieran survived, it is where Kieran and Olivia met in secret and where the boys scratched their names into the rock, and it is where Gabby Birch was left to die. It is also the location of the sculpture of The Survivors. In what ways do the idea of the caves, and the risks and pleasures they offer, permeate the novel?


Posted Jan. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
robertaw

Join Date: 04/20/16

Posts: 54

RE: In what ways do the idea of the caves, and the risks and pleasures they offer, permeate the novel?

The caves added a sense of danger and suspense throughout the novel. It was the source of many secrets, risk and in the case of Kieran and Olivia, pleasure. I found myself getting anxious whenever anyone would go into the caves because of the chance they might not come out.


Posted Jan. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melissa c.

Join Date: 01/10/21

Posts: 53

RE: In what ways do the idea of the caves, and the risks and pleasures they offer, permeate the novel?

I agree that the caves were a source of the many secrets in the Evelyn Bay community. They were almost a physical manifestation of the secrets and lies of the people that spent time in them.
I also loved the author's detailed description of the caves and found myself visualizing the characters in and around the caves.


Posted Jan. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
paulak

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 187

RE: In what ways do the idea of the caves, and the risks and pleasures they offer, permeate the novel?

Love the symbolism of the caves which, to me, were the secrets that all of the characters seemed to carry and how those very secrets have tremendous powers of destruction. To be cliche, Harper's writing creates such a dark, heavy atmosphere and the caves were the perfect extension.

I find caves to be scary places where you are never quite sure of your next footfall. This combined with the impact of rising tides creates at times overwhelming suspense.

(Thanks, Davina!)


Posted Jan. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieRauter

Join Date: 10/01/18

Posts: 5

RE: In what ways do the idea of the caves, and the risks and pleasures they offer, permeate the novel?

The caves were the central "character" and theme of this novel. Their allure was the thrill of danger, the excitement of discovery, and the background thought that one might not ever come out again once they entered the caves. They indirectly caused all that occured with Kieran, with Olivia, with Gabby, with Sean - with Kieran's thinking he was the reason his brother and Liam's father died - with Gabby's fixation on getting to the caves - and with Sean's fixation on Gabby. And Bronte's fixation on all that occurred.


Posted Feb. 02, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 330

RE: In what ways do the idea of the caves, and the risks and pleasures they offer, permeate the novel?

Caves, like the Survivors sculpture, are another form of symbolism in this novel. As the sculpture emerges and submerges according to the tide, the ebb and flow of the water, so the characters and their thoughts surface and disappear into and out of the caves. It is dark inside, footing is unstable, and this represents not only the events that occur within them but also the deeper thoughts and feelings of characters while underground. I thought Harper's use of the caves in this novel was brilliant. In her last book she used the stark naked, nearly inescapable sun to create, so effectively, a disquieting atmosphere, and in this work she works with the opposite direction: underground, inside, among shadows. Yet she is just as successful using the caves and her characters within them to create amazing tension and anxiety not only for them but for her readers as well. There are spaces of light within, of course, and these reflect moments of thought or insight - some positive, some not so much so. There are references to Kieran and Olivia's meeting place in the caves as being higher up and references to crossroads of sorts within the caves - alluding to choices characters must make. The use of the caves is really almost a story in itself.


Posted Feb. 03, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 305

RE: In what ways do the idea of the caves, and the risks and pleasures they offer, permeate the novel?

I agree with susiej about the thinking and feeling process that the caves symbolized for many of the characters. Brian, due to his illness, has taken a wrong turn in the cave and will be forever trapped in his thoughts. Verity wanders from tunnel to tunnel, trying to find the exit that will finally free her. Sean knows that there is light at the "end of the tunnel", and is consumed with finding it. Kieran, due to so much personal strength and recovery AND a strong support system successfully navigates the twists and turns. Olivia is stuck at the entrance, unsure where to go next. The caves, like our minds, can be dark, scary places. But once able to learn the route, there is light and hope- -excitement even.


Posted Feb. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
elisabethc

Join Date: 07/16/19

Posts: 42

RE: In what ways do the idea of the caves, and the risks and pleasures they offer, permeate the novel?

I really like the above explanations of the symbolism of the caves, including acstrine's attributing of different qualities of them to the characters. This emphasizes that the caves are something unchangeable and solid that can nevertheless be navigated differently. To an extent, the way characters interact with the caves really can be seen as a metaphor for how they conduct themselves in their personal lives and how they choose to deal with the things they cannot change.


Posted Feb. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
linz

Join Date: 08/12/15

Posts: 88

RE: In what ways do the idea of the caves, and the risks and pleasures they offer, permeate the novel?

The caves were a symbol, but also a real physical presence in the story. Somehow, the characters are drawn to them over and over. They were dangerous, intriguing, secret. All the things that would tempt teenagers to explore.


Posted Feb. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
beverlyj

Join Date: 12/22/11

Posts: 118

RE: In what ways do the idea of the caves, and the risks and pleasures they offer, permeate the novel?

I agree with the answers that the caves were so much a character in the story and part of the history and legacy of the town.

It provides warnings but also provides temptations to conquer.

But Mother Nature usually wins out and at times she will keep your secrets and other times she will expose them.

I thought the author did a good job using the Caves to keep the tension moving along with the story.

When Kieran was walking down the treacherous path to the caves with Audrey in her carrier - was thinking are you crazy or you trying to bring on another tragedy.


Posted Feb. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 261

RE: In what ways do the idea of the ...

The caves give the eerie element to the story. The danger, the unknown, secrets. the cause of problems and death. The caves add a tension to the overall story. Kiernan taking Audrey down into the caves gave off a bad feeling, especially when he thought he had seen movement in the dark. The play-off of the innocence of the baby and the darkness of cave added that forbidden element to the story.


Posted Mar. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Sarreo

Join Date: 02/11/21

Posts: 1

RE: In what ways do the idea of the ...

One of the main reasons I enjoy Jane Harper’s suspense novels is her ability to draw landscape into her stories. A master at evoking Australia’s physical environments, Harper elevates these to essential “characters” in her novels. Here, the sea caves of Evelyn Bay provide the critical setting for the action. While appearing open and enticing, they can quickly become dark and treacherous. As such, they are symbolic of her characters, whose inner lives, deepest thoughts, and darkest secrets drive the narrative. Caves and characters—-all beg for exploration, carry markings of the past, and present different paths to safety.


Posted Mar. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
NCjeanne

Join Date: 04/26/20

Posts: 2

RE: In what ways do the idea of the ...

Love this question!
To me, as the question suggests, the caves were a double-edged sword that enhanced the book’s plot, characterization and setting. As with a sword, they represented a powerful force that could be exciting, benign, or lethal. I enjoyed them as metaphors (caves are great for that purpose!) for a lot of things. In particular, I chose to use them to symbolize keys to the past (containing important secrets) and keys to the future (assuming cave tourism becomes popular). Unlike the residents of Evelyn Bay, the caves have already, and most certainly will continue to “abide” time and treachery for many centuries. :::-)::


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