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The Shadow King


An unforgettable epic shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, and named a best ...
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Discuss The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste:
How does loss reverberate through the characters' lives, and how do those losses explicitly shape their actions and choices in relation to other characters?

Created: 09/16/20

Replies: 3

Posted Sep. 16, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2332

How does loss reverberate through the characters' lives, and how do those losses explicitly shape their actions and choices in relation to other characters?

Aster, Kidane, Leo Navarro, and Haile Selassie have all lost children, and Hirut has lost both of her parents. How does loss reverberate through their lives, and how do those losses explicitly shape their actions and choices in relation to other characters?


Posted Sep. 18, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ssh

Join Date: 02/04/14

Posts: 16

RE: How does loss reverberate through the characters' lives, and how do those losses explicitly shape their actions and choices in relation to other characters?

I found loss to be a dominant factor in the lives of the characters. It seemed to limit their choices greatly and lock them into relationships in both good and bad ways. While there were some feelings of loyalty to relate positively to other characters, in honor or memory of the deceased person, it never was strong enough for me. This book did make me think of how personal loss shapes each of our lives.


Posted Sep. 23, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bookfabulous's Gravatar
bookfabulous

Join Date: 08/01/19

Posts: 15

RE: How does loss reverberate through the characters' lives, and how do those losses explicitly shape their actions and choices in relation to other characters?

Pain and loss seemed to be driving forces behind the actions of the novel's characters. However the manifestation of that pain took on many different forms with each character. Some were able to lock in that pain in a place that resulted in a complete transformation of character as in the case of Aster. For Hirut, she was able to transform her incredible reserves of pain into an anger and a defiance that drove her to courageous action on the battlefield.

However, in the novel there was also a loss of self brought on by the untimely death of one's own child (Kidane and Aster) or humiliation (as in the case of Fucelli and Hirut) so that the violence, loss and pain managed to split the afflicted character's self in two, eventually leaving it a shadow of its former self.


Posted Sep. 23, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
ylhoff

Join Date: 10/23/12

Posts: 70

RE: How does loss reverberate through the characters' lives, and how do those losses explicitly shape their actions and choices in relation to other characters?

The level of loss from the first chapter constantly left them either victims or perpetrators. I don't think there was even one character that didn't experience some sort of warped view of the world because of it. There wasn't a moment for sustained joy.


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