Fledgling ( pages 241-310)

“And your mothers? Your eldermothers?”

“I don’t know.”

“Your symbionts … how many symbionts did you have?”

“I’m told I had seven. I don’t remember any of them.”

“You recall no names? Nothing?”

“So you feel nothing for these people who were once closer to you than any others?” I looked downward.

“It’s as though they’re strangers. It’s terrible to me that I can’t recall them even enough to mourn them. I hate that they are dead— my families— but for me, it’s as though they never lived.”

Page 247-248

Preluding this passage Shori finds herself in front of the Council of Judgement following the attacks on the Gordon family. She is questioned by many of the older Ina to gain insight on the attacks carried out. Shori is a key component of this deposition as the attacks were carried out during the day. Shori, being able to exist in sunlight, was able to defeat the attackers (human symbionts). It is revealed that the attacks were carried out because Shori is black and also part human. This passage is interesting because a major theme of the novel has been the quest for Shori to find her identity as an Ina by rediscovering her past. This interaction where she is questioned about her family seems to make her question her motives for finding justice for her slain family members, “its as though they never lived.” This sentiment makes it hard to believe there is passion behind her motives of justice.

In these final pages of the book the theme of identity truly comes to fruition following the death of one of Shori’s beloved symbionts, Theodora. Following the Council meeting Shori is informed that Theodora has died, more specifically she has been murdered.

“I found myself on my knees beside Theodora making sounds I could not recall ever having made before. She had come to me because she trusted me, loved me. She had been so happy when I asked her to join me here at Punta Nublada where she should have been safe. I had promised her a good life, had had every intention of keeping my promise. I would have kept her with me for the rest of her life. How could she be dead?”

page 258

The pain that Shori experiences when examining the lifeless body of Theodora is comparable to that of a mother grieving her child. True love. The feelings that Shori had expressed for her “actual” family have been dwarfed by the emotion displayed while grieving Theodora. Although Shori is young (by Ina standards) she has begun formulating a family of her own.

The novels ends touching on very centralized identity themes. For one, Shori also realizes that her past identity has become irrelevant to her life in the present and her current family is truly important, striving to define ones identity through family. As well as a more generalized sense of identity when identifying with a particular group (Inas). Shori was rejected and attacked by her own people (Katharine and the Silks), but has found refuge with her symbionts (humans) and future mates (Inas).

-John Sieg

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8 thoughts on “Fledgling ( pages 241-310)

  1. To me, this reminds me of the genocides that happen all over the world, in particular Rwanda. The Rwandan genocide was basically a centralized around members of a race (in particular the Hutu) killed other members of their race (the Tutsi) mainly based on the face that the Tutsi were regarded as the racially superior race by the Germans who colonized the area. The point that you make that Shori was attacked and rejected by her people seems to echo the same feelings. The idea that one thing such as skin color can change people of your own race or kind to turn against you is a powerful force. It is a force that has caused so much damage in the history of many countries not just our own. In addition, the fact that Shori’s past identity does not effect her present shows that there is hope and a place of sanctuary for these victims.

    -Serina Thomas

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  2. I think it’s very interesting that Shori let’s go of her past to live in her new present with all that she has lost and gained. I like that the Council, and other Ina, sympathize with her loss of decades of life, and memory. It is a tragic loss on the level of her family and symbionts. But, through her loss, her human side is reawakened through her questions. She wonders whether she has the physical ability to cry, as seen through her reaction to Theodora’s death and when Russell collapses after his sentencing. She truly is a human in an alien body, having to relearn her biology throughout the novel. Having to understand what and how she is do to her lack of a past foundation. Thankfully, the novel ends positively, with her being able to look forward to living her life and becoming accepted as an Ina.

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  3. I never really noticed that the theme of Fledgling was about self-identity. It is very important that you brought this up because after all that Shori has been through, emotionally, she does not give up and finds solace in her new symbiont and Ina families. Unlike other instances of vampire pop culture, Shori actually has feelings and experiences similar feelings as humans do, as revealed in Theodora’s unfortunate death. You mentioned that the Council might have been skeptical that Shori has trouble finding her motives on seeking justice for her family, but this is only because Shori has humanistic qualities such as dignity, integrity, and compassion. Even though she does not remember her family and does not cry, the fact that she still wants justice reveals that she is caring. She cares about her new symbionts’ feelings (Celia, Brook) and want the Silks to pay for their actions. She is going to court to hopefully acquire justice for new family. Regarding self-identity, Shori does not let the past influence her present. This is something that the audience can relate to. One popular saying that is brought to mind is: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that’s why they call it a present.”

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  4. The theme of identity also stuck out to me at this point. While it played a role throughout the story, it really became the predominant theme here at the end. I feel as though the idea of uncovering the fact that she could feel emotions and react to them as a human would is intertwined with her progression and discovery of who she is. Her acknowledging how much she cares about her symbiont, Theodora, is a significant part of who she might be. This definitely paves a much clearer path for her, as there did seem to be a fair amount of gray area in Shori’s life. I think that we as the audience are supposed to predict what might happen with her, the Ina, and their symbionts in the coming years.
    -Jimmy Nolan

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  5. I find identity one of the more important themes of this Novel! In the beginning, shori is unsure of who she is, differentiating from the other Inas. Through self determination and with help from her symbionts, shori gains control of her life and acquires her identity. This passage acknowledges the humanistic quality of caring as well as having a family, all factors that contribute to her now known identity. In her position as an Ina, shori is the dominant figure in the human/Ina relationship and so this disbelief when Theodora passes effects her significantly

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  6. I like that you focused on the theme of identity with the passage that you chose here. Throughout the novel, Shori’s amnesia has a huge effect on how she is able to understand her own identity, first as she struggles to figure out what she is, and then as she tries to sort of reconcile who she was in the past she couldn’t remember with who she is now. Her grief over Theodora’s death, so much stronger and sharper than what she felt when her Ina family was killed does indeed provide a great contrast to your beginning quote, where Shori admits that she can’t really mourn the families that she lost because she doesn’t remember them. Both quotes clearly show how Shori has come to accept her current identity, owning up to her feelings, rather than trying to cling to a past life and identity that no longer applies to her.

    -Marjorie Eyong

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  7. I also really enjoyed the focus on Shori’s identity because it allows the readers to see how agency can be muddled not just through personal struggle, but also as an external struggle. Throughout the novel, we see how there is a constant imbalance between the other characters like Theodora, who see her as important, while the Silks see her as different. It is also interesting how the only way Shori can understand her identity is, like mentioned earlier, to disconnect from the past and build a new foundation off of that. In a sense, building a whole new beginning is like creating her own new sense of family: something we see from her love towards Theodora.

    -Brandon G

    (I apologize, the middle portion was accidentally pasted into the last post from a school computer.)

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