-- A blog maintained by a pessimistic over-confident High-School kid.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Thoughts on "Where the Crawdads Sing" - Delia Owens

In getting back into the habit of reading again, I picked up the book Where the Crawdads Sing. Fiction books have the power to help one experience years of living within hours, and this book is definitely one of them. As books are the embodiment of fast-forwarded life experiences, I feel entitled to record my gained understanding and the lessons I learned. And as this book contains a very big twist in the end, I would avoid spoilers as much as possible.

Structured as a semi-detective story, this book is about the narrative of the main character, Kya, dealing with the harshness of life and going through stages of denial. She was given false hope repeatedly from age 5 and throughout her teenage years. She was not gifted with education and is bullied on the first and only day of school. Her development in the book signifies the outcome of hard work and determination. Her dedication to her interest brings her to extraordinary feats, and her analytical mind empowers her to the description of "prowess"chapter 54 (my new favourite word).

One of the themes of the book is survival. It is expanded into sub-categories of achieving fitness, cultural incompetence, and the battle between individuals. In the use of foreshadowing, the scene of conflict tangling with competence is shown repeatedly. There is the survival of the fittest in the wild, the juxtaposition of the rural(competent) and urban, and revenge. The central message that the author is trying to convey is that life is cruel and it is necessary for us to rise up to face troubles. While our urban society hides us from the rule of the wilderness where you get killed when you are not alert, the rule persists with only the consequences reduced to being unsuccessful. In the wilderness before villages and urban cities, everyone is for themselves. It is completely the concept of capitalism where you are in charge of your own success, so when danger comes, there will be no police or unemployment benefits. This book applies this concept to the civilized world and brings out the consequences of incompetency. When being unwareful of our surroundings in our current society, the outcome is that we fall behind in school or work. The penalty of procrastinating which equivalate to not protecting oneself in the wild is being unsuccessful. The dull reality of being unsuccessful as a consequence is tuned down from the death we had before. It indirectly shows how some people in society strive to improve and be "fit" to society, others prevail and fall behind.

An animation I did a while back. I haven't been
drawing lately, so I have nothing to post

One of the striking scenes in the book is the comparison made between people within the court and animals in the marsh. She connected the situation in court to animals of different tiers: "Kya saw similarities in (the marsh's and the court's) nature. The judge, obviously the alpha male, was secure in his position, so his posture was imposing, but relaxed and threatened as the territorial boar. Tom Milton, too, exuded confidence and rank with easy movement and stance...The prosecutor, on the other hand, relied on wide, bright ties and broad-shouldered suit jackets to enhance his status"start of chapter 51. The dynamic shift in power between individuals always fascinated me, and it shows the consequence of not developing your skill in the civilized world. While an incompetent individual might still be well-off, he/she will be crushed under in situations. It details the features of the unforgiving wild onto our civilized world. In our current state in the world, we pride for understanding and sympathy for the weak, and it shades us from the Earth's fundamental feature of harshness. We should be reminded that this tolerant world that we live in is built upon us dominating other species, where inferior species become endangered, and then extinct. The narrative of sympathy for the inferior species is lacklustre when compared to the amount set for humans of you and me. The harsh environment once motivated us, and now that it is strived away (for good, for greatness), we should be reminded of it and stay motivated.

A gif animation referenced from Stephen Curry's
method of dribbling into a shot

Setting this book in the single light of power dynamics and survival is unfair because, in reality, it is much more colourful than that. On top of the theme of survival, there is the motif of love, hope, care, overcoming struggles and much more. It offers a roller-coaster ride of a plot as it narrates the ups and downs in the life of the main character, Kya. The humble beginnings of Kya paint the picture of defeating the impossible, and the ending would surely leave you in awe, disbelief, and immediate understanding. If it is not for the brilliance of the structure of pace within the novel, I would not have cared to enclose the plot as I had not before. It had been an excellent read.

The author of the book, as being a biologist, integrates the life lessons ought to be learnt from biology into our urban culture. Reading it is absorbing the condensed knowledge biology has to offer to daily life. This being her first fiction novel tells the brilliance biology can offer.

P.S: I like how my kindle's battery can hold on for the reading of two whole books, I read:

  • The Romantic Manifesto - by Ayn Rand
  • Half of a Yellow Sun - by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  And I also like how I finished two books within 20 sittings ;)

And, I also wrote this for 2 hours to 1:22 AM. There goes my sleeping schedule

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