Literature Analysis Of “The Nightingale” By Kristin Hannah
Kristin Hannah was born on September 25, 1960 in Garden Grove, California. Kristin is married to Benjamin Hannah and has a 23 year old son Tucker. When Hannah was in law school her mother was diagnosed with cancer and every day she would go visit her mother. One day her mother told her not to worry about law school because she was going to become a writer anyway. At that point her mother and her decided to write a book together. Hannah was inspired to write The Nightingale when she was writing her earlier book Winter Garden she found information about a resistance group and how a brave young girl was helping fallen pilots over the Pyrenees Mountains to safety.
Form, structure, and plot
The Nightingale has a total of 438 pages, all of it is put into 39 chapters. Most of the chapters are in the present, what’s going on to Isabelle (The Nightingale) and Vianne during the war. Overall, most of the chapters Vianne and or Isabelle are talking about their experiences and how they feel about what is going on in their lives. Other chapters are dialogues going back and forth between Vianne and Antonie, Vianne and Isabelle, Vianne and Sophie, Vianne and Rachel, Vianne and Captain Beck, or Isabelle talking to her resistance group. In the novel covers Vianne and Isabelle struggling journey throughout World War Two. Antonie gets drafted from war, Rachel and Sarah both pass away, Vianne and Isabelle’s father gets killed, Vianne kills Captain Beck to protect Isabelle, Isabelle gets captured by the Nazis’ and get sent to a concentration camp, and Rachel’s son Ari now must change his identity so Vianne could keep him safe and as her child.
Point of view
The book is written in two different point of views which is very effective for the author and not giving away which sister is speaking in the first chapter. The chapters from Vainne in the year of 1995 are in the first point of view and she talks about her feelings about her past as her life is coming it an end. However, most of the novel is written in third person omniscient point of view. In the novel it describes present events that are happening to Vianne and Isabelle during the war. There is some during the novel where Vianne or Isabelle has flashbacks and or memories about their lives as children and their abandonment of their father. Through most of the novel the author allows the reader to understand each character and their story.
The novel is set at the beginning of World War Two in Europe. Hannah describes it as everyone in the town of Carriveau seemed to not really be aware of everything that was going on the the cities around them. The story begins with Vianne her husband Antonie and daughter going out on a picnic then during the picnic Antonie brings up war and how sooner or later he was going to have to fight. Vianne hates war because it torn her family apart many years ago. This sets the rest of the story into play.
The novel is has symbols such as the nightingale and the strings of fabric that represent loves one that Vianne and Sophie has lost. In the story The Nightingale the nightingale represents loss and courage. It represents love and lose because Isabelle has courage and does what she feels is right and that is to stop Hitler and save those who are hurt. It represents lose because Isabelle must leave her sister in order to save those who are hurt. The Nightingale is an important symbol in the novel. The pieces of fabric that Vianne hands Sophie tie to their tree branch represent all the loves one they have lost. In chapter 11, Vianne realizes that Antonie may be killed while held as a prisoner, “She took the short coil of crooked tarn and tied it to an apple tree branch. The burgundy color stood out against the green and brown. Now, each day in her garden and when she would walk to her gate and when she picked apple, she would pass this branch and see this bit of yarn and think of Antoine.” How when they pass the tree they remember and never forget those they once loved.
Figurative language (tropes)
Hannah uses a variety of figurative language throughout the novel. Simile is what Hannah commonly uses to compare things to one another. An example of this in the beginning of the novel Vianne make a comparison, “It is like being in the hold of an old steamship”. This is comparing the attic to a hold of a steamship how it’s so small and inconvenient. The author also uses personification” the stairs unfold from the ceiling like a gentleman extending his hand”. This is showing how Vianne is reminded of a gentleman when she sees the ceiling unfold.
The tone of the characters throughout the story line is curious and wistful. Throughout the novel the characters are always curious about what is going to happen next in the war and how it may affect them in their daily lives. The characters are wistful in that they are always thinking what if I did this differently and how things would be different for all of them. For example of the characters being curious is “certainly they would not round up and arrest all the Jewish people this hour. Everyone knew that arrests were never made during mealtimes”. An example of characters being wistful is “It was hard without you.. Le Jardin is so close to the airfield. The German noticed the house on their way into town. Two officers billeted here”. Both of these quotes show and explain the tone of the character throughout the story.
The central theme of The Nightingale is the power of women. This can be seen in how Vianne and Isabelle fight for what they believe and do the right thing in time of trouble and doubt. This can be seen within Isabelle when she becomes the nightingale and fights against the Nazis’. She does what she believes is right and rescues fallen pilots and takes them across the Pyrenees mountains into Spain for safety. Then how Vianne keeps strong while Antonie is off in war. She does what she needs to do to survive and never gives up. She puts Sophie and Daniel (Ari) first before her. How she keeps calm as Captain Beck and Sturmbannführer Von Richter come live with her and the decisions she must make in order to have her children survive. Vianne started saving Jewish children from dying. Both of these women stand up and show that women are capable of anything and everything. They have a voice in the war just as any man and made a difference.
Significance of title
The title of the novel The Nightingale is significant because Isabelle and Vianne’s last name Rossignol means nightingale. The nightingale is also a symbol in the novel for loss and courage in the novel. The word nightingale is significant because that is what Isabelle was called during the war when she was rescuing fallen pilots and taking them to safety across the Pyrenees Mountains. How there last name means nightingale how Isabelle signified herself as the nightingale as if it was the statement that made her feel that she was making a difference in the war. Overall, the title was significant in how it directly linked to Isabelle and Vianne.
The Themes of Love and Selflessness in The Nightingale and the Rose
“The Nightingale and the Rose” is short story by Oscar Wilde. It is a tale of selflessness, but I believe we can dig a little deeper into this tale. I believe this tale also to be one about the failings of so called wise men.
The story of “The Nightingale and the Rose” by Oscar Wilde may be a short story, but it is a tragic one. A nightingale resting in her nest in an oak tree hears a young gentleman lamenting that he cannot dance with the girl he desires at the Prince’s ball tomorrow night, for the girl wants a red rose and he has none. Animals crept past him wondering why he is weeping and the Nightingale replies “He is weeping for a red rose.” (Wilde) The nightingale understands the mysteries of the Love and went searching for a red rose. She could not find one until a branch under the windowsill of the young man’s tower told him it would give her a red rose and pricked her heart on one of his thorns, and she agrees. There is a twist at the end, but I will not tell you what is.
This story is a very emotional one as well as ironic. It pulls on the reader’s heartstrings when they learn the nightingale is about to die, and then gives her life for love. Her death is then repaid by the fickleness and folly of human nature. It appeals to the readers’ sense of love and what love is, but also makes one feel terrible about being a part of such a corrupt society.
However, if you look at it from a logical standpoint, the student is right. Logic is better to some than love is. So, he is right by himself when he returns to his studies. However still, he will never know of the great sacrifice of the little nightingale for love.
Another way to look at this story is from its ethical standpoint. Not quite in the sense of animal cruelty (i.e. the death of the nightingale), but in the sense of the failing of human society. We sometimes put too much stress on wanting the finer things in life and not appreciating the small things, or little gestures of affection. We also tend to overlook other smaller creatures part in a grand scheme as with the death of the nightingale producing the red rose. Also, when we are rejected, as humans we tend to lash out and say mean things and return to a more primal savage man. Mankind may be the highest species on earth, but sometimes we act lower than the lowest of worms.
The quality of the writing in this story is really well done. The author [Oscar Wilde] uses a wider variety of colorful figurative language. For example, when he describes the colors of the roses he uses similes and metaphors really effectively. One example of this is ““My roses are white,” it [the rose tree] answered; “as white as the foam of the sea, and whiter than the snow upon the mountain. But go to my brother who grows round the old sun-dial, and perhaps he will give you what you want.” (Wilde). Wilde also uses irony in his story [The Nightingale and the Rose] as well. The ending is a perfect example of irony; however, I will not give away the ending. The language of this story is really exquisite, and is one of the saving points of this story.
I do not recommend anyone to read this story unless you are into heartache, and possibly self-inflicted pain of a mental sort. If you want a piece of your faith in humanity to go away, then by all means read this story. However, if you are into sad tales then go ahead and read this book. I, however, do not recommend this tale.
“The Nightingale and the Rose” is a wonderful tale. I personally would not recommend it, but it is still a very interesting read. It is a tale of love and loss, and how so-called wise men sometimes miss the beauty of a red rose and the dying lament of a nightingale for love.
Literary Analysis and Interpretation of The Nightingale by Hans Christian Andersen
The Nightingale by Hans Christian Andersen
The Nightingale is a story about an emperor who hears of a nightingale bird in his empire that he has never seen or heard and everyone is talking about how beautiful this bird is. He is intrigued to find this bird and so he sends his chamberlain out to search the corridors and find the famous nightingale. The chamberlain approached the kitchen maid who has heard of the nightingale before. She leads him into the forest to find the bird and request that it sing for the emperor. Once the emperor hears the nightingale, he orders a cage and keeps him in his empire but the bird is unhappy to be stuck inside so waits for the perfect moment to escape the empire leaving the mechanical bird in the cage. The emperor is angry that the bird escaped and banished the bird from his empire. The emperor falls ill; enough to soon die, and has death sitting on his chest. The nightingale flies back to the empire and sings for the emperor who soon finds himself healed and healthy. The emperor and the nightingale set a plan for the bird to remain free to come and go as it pleases and sing whenever it wants to – or not. The nightingale promises to sing about good and bad, sad and happy, all of which is hidden from the emperor as long as he promises not to tell people a little bird tells him everything. And they lived happily ever after.
Although this story does not start off with “once upon a time,” or anything similar like a typical folktale does, the author alternatively creates a distant setting that happened long ago and makes it known that its an old story. As folktales are known to be old stories that are told from teller to teller, this story reminded me of such. Like a folktale, the story has a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning of the story focuses on creating an imaginary landscape, one that is a world of magic and beauty. I noticed that this story creates an obstacle right from the starts where the chamberlain is in search of the nightingale at the emperor’s request. He searches high and low, so to speak, for this nightingale bird and with the help of the kitchen maid; they find the bird to bring back to the empire. In this part of the story, I noticed the conflict fell into the repetition of three. The chamberlain heard the cow mooing and thought it was the bird, he heard the frogs croaking and also thought it was the bird, finally, he heard the real nightingale bird.
Another similarity between the traditional folktale and this story is that the story includes helper figures. The Nightingale has three—the chamberlain who helped find the nightingale bird for the emperor, the kitchen helper who took the chamberlain to the forest to find the bird, and the nightingale itself, as it sang for the emperor no matter what happened, which brought him back to good health. In the middle of the story, I didn’t quite notice the action coming quickly or main conflict like the traditional folktale would have. Instead, and this is another example of how they differ, the nightingale brought much happiness to the emperor and those in the empire until a mechanical bird showed up one day sang with the nightingale. The nightingale slipped out the window without anyone noticing and this became another conflict within the story. The emperor was upset, as were the courtiers who berated the nightingale and said it was the most ungrateful bird. It was banished from the empire and everyone was quite happy with the singing of the mechanical bird because they always knew what it would sing and came to know all of the words to the song.
Quickly, the plot changes and the emperor became ill. He couldn’t breath and felt something sitting on his chest. The emperor saw death sitting on his chest with his crown on its head, sword in one hand, and magnificent banner in the other. Again, I notice the conflict came in three like a traditional folktale—the search for the bird, the bird that escaped, and now the sick emperor. The emperor heard people talking about things he never knew about, he demanded music to drown out the voices of those who were talking around him so he didn’t have to listen to what they had to say. Suddenly, after the climax, we hit the end of the story. The hero, also known as the nightingale, came to the emperors rescue and started singing in the window, asking Death for the crown, sword, and banner to keep singing until Death was filled with longing for his garden and drifted like a cold, white mist out the window. A known characteristic of a folktale is that they have heroes who usually resolve the conflict/obstacle near the end of the story. In The Nightingale, I would recognize the nightingale bird as the hero since he saved the emperors life, resolved the conflict in the empire entirely (by informing the emperor in the future about all of that, that he didn’t know), and also dedicated himself to the emperor to keep him happy and healthy.
In the end of The Nightingale the emperor apologizes for driving the bird out of his land and empire. The conflict is now over as the nightingale has sung the bad visions away from the emperor’s bed and removed Death from his heart. The bird remained faithful and reliable as the emperor awoke refreshed and healthy with the nightingale still sitting there signing, even though his servants hadn’t returned as they thought he was dead. The emperor tried to fulfill the birds wishes by offering to have him sing when only he wants to and to destroy the mechanical bird. However, the nightingale makes a final deal, committing himself to the emperor, stating he will sit in the window and sing to the emperor about those who are happy, those who suffer, the good and the evil, which is kept hidden from him, if only he can be free to come and go as he pleases and that the emperor will not tell anyone that a little bird is telling him everything. The villain (Death) was also defeated and the hero was rewarded. The ending was happy, everyone was pleased and got what they wanted and/or needed, much like the traditional folktale.
It is evident that The Nightingale has many similarities with the traditional folktale. I believe there was more similarities than differences and that The Nightingale could easily be mistaken for a folktale. It had many of the characteristics identified in a folktale such as a villain, a hero, the sequence of three’s, a beginning that created an imaginary landscape, a middle that had three different conflicts, and an end where it ended happily with a resolution in place.