Barbara Gowdy’s White Bone Essay

Barbara Gowdy’s White Bone Essay

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Barbara Gowdy’s White Bone is a novel that is written about the perspective of a herd of elephants living in Africa. The main characters are Mud, Tall-Time, Date Bed, and Torrent. All of which develop immensely over the course of the beginning to the end of the first half of the book. The story revolves around their separate and combined journeys towards finding the white bone, a mythical bone which will lead any elephant to where they want to go in life. The story also is powered by the idea that elephants do not forget anything that happens to them in their lives, they remember everything and that if an elephant is not killed prematurely, and then in old age it will go insane and senile with so many useless memories.
Being written with a third-person omniscient point of view, as reader it is easy to pick-up the thoughts and ideas of all characters. Originally it is thought that in the beginning of the book that Mud will be the only main/dynamic character, but upon reading further into the book, Tall-Time (closest thing to Mud’s love interest), Torrent (Tall-Time’s best friend), and Date Bed (Mud’s best friend), all will be discussed and their development into complex characters will be another focal point. The author is very creative in her way of developing characters. She almost tries to dedicate each chapter to one character, or another chapter to the relationship that certain elephants share with one another. The dictionary and family tree that she creates within the prologue also add a certain sense of knowledge for the reader; those tools make the reader feel as if they already know things about the characters and their situation. This makes the use of elephants as the main characters, not as farfetched as...


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...ve with her powers. In general no matter the conflict that arises the elephants always stick together and never become mad at one another. This collectiveness/family unity is a great message to any reader searching for life answers.
I think that the messages this book displays are important for anyone to think about, and apply to their lives every day.
So far this book was a nice little surprise. Like previously stated, upon picking this book up one would think that the author is crazy for writing about the lifestyles of elephants. But when it is actually explored and read its written style and messages make for this book to be taken in very easily and fluently. This language used is at the perfect level, and the subject level is complex enough that the reader has to make connections themselves or else they will become confused almost guaranteed.

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