In class today we were talking a lot about close reading passages and about the significance of the glass animals, and I thought this passage was really interesting because it portrays the animal as eerily lifelike. The passage starts on page 34: ” The animal’s knees buckled. As they fell, some of the animals lost their heads while other’s bodies broke in two. The broken bodies of some protected the bodies of others from shattering completely. Some lay on their sides, staring out the window.” This passage just stood out to me because I think the animal’s shattering is depicted very violently, and I could picture the carnage that ensued with phrases like “bodies broke in two” and “lost their heads.” If the point of the glass animals is that the young girl identifies with inanimate objects and relates to their confined existence, then their shattering could be representative of her innate desire to break out of her current situation and escape feeling trapped. While reading this book I sometimes forget that the young girl is only six years old because a majority of the books that we have read so far deal with older narrators. Hence, she may not possess the mental capabilities to express her negative emotions, and the violence of the animals shattering could mirror her own desire to break something and release her anger.

Glass Animals Shattering

One thought on “Glass Animals Shattering

  • November 19, 2019 at 11:34 am

    I also thought that the glass animals were highly significant. Someone had said in class that the glass animals represented the people who didn’t care or didn’t listen to the narrator or people like her, and I was thinking along the same wavelength when I read it. The fact that these glass animals are so fragile and only meant to be gazed upon makes me think that they represent the privilege of people in America, or any country that does not have to deal with such challenges as they experienced in Vietnam and other warring countries. The glass animals are “soul-less” or incapable of understanding what the narrator is going through, but the butterfly is different, and it speaks to her on some level. Based on the cover design of my copy of the book, this butterfly also has a significant meaning throughout the text. I believe that the narrator feels this connection with the butterfly because she feels trapped in this strange new country, far from home. The fact that she breaks the glass cabinet while trying to free the butterfly seems to suggest that she is herself trying to break free of her feeling of alienation and disassociation, which involves breaking free of the people who ignore her.

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