Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some thoughts about Abarat

doodling Doodling

Remember how Candy doodled wavy lines on her notebook? And she kept thinking about them as she was leaving school? I love the description of the lines, and how in her mind they changed from being black lines on gray, recycled paper to being bright, and then moving: "The wavy lines were rolling across the darkness inside her skull, rolling and breaking, the brilliant colors bursting into arabesques of white and silver."



When Candy is trying to decide whether to help John Mischief, to risk drawing the attention of the horrifying Mendelson Shape, she thinks about destiny and fate. "In a curious way it made sense that she was here because she had to be here...Why else, after living all her life in Chickentown, should she be here - in a place she'd never been before - today?"

More about Doodling

On page 52, Candy "thought of the doodle she'd made on her workbook; the way it had seemed to brighten in her mind's eye, inspiring her limbs to move. It was almost as though the doodle had been a sign, a ticket to this adventure." And then on page 63, we come across the symbol again, on the surface of the turquoise-and-silver ball Candy finds in the tower: "And elegantly engraved on its blue-green surface was a design she knew! There it was, etched into the metal: the doodle she'd drawn so obsessively in her workbook." There's a lot in this book about fate. Clearly, Candy was fated to have this adventure. How do you think the wavy-line doodle fits into this? Was it put there purposely (by someone?) as a clue to help Candy know what to do, a sign for her to follow? Or is it just a detail that is present in certain places, that Candy somehow tunes into?

Mendelson Shape

So what did you think of the first bad guy in the book, Mendelson Shape? I'm not sure which is scarier, the description of him ("…there was something spiderish about his grotesque anatomy. His almost fleshless limbs were so long, she could readily imagine him walking up a wall.") or the picture. I haven't encountered many scarier images than that of Shape climbing up the tower in pursuit of Candy, singing his horrid little nursery song.