All the Light We Cannot See

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Characters

Marie-Laure Leblanc

Characters Marie-Laure Leblanc

Marie-Laure is a resilient young woman who is motivated by her curiosity about the world around her. Marie-Laure does not resign herself to a limited and sheltered life despite going blind at a young age. Instead, she takes her father’s advice and commits to learning to read Braille and navigating the world by studying small scale models of the places she lives. These are not easy tasks, and they require courage and persistence, but because Marie-Laure has these qualities, she is able to become an independent and resourceful young woman. She wants to learn and experience as much of the world as she can. Marie-Laure finds joy in things like exploring the beach, touching natural specimens, and reading adventure stories. She eventually goes on to become a well-known scientist who conducts field work and makes new discoveries, and she also lives happily as a single mother during a time when this was not common. Marie-Laure does not have a conventional life, but she focuses on the ways she can find joy and contribute to knowledge and discovery.

Marie-Laure encounters a lot of suffering and danger throughout her life, but she never gives up and does not become cynical or embittered. She grows up without her mother, loses her sight, and never sees her father again after his mysterious disappearance. She lives through the trauma and poverty of warfare, and after her brief encounter with Werner, she is never able to find him again. While she is trapped in the house during the bombing and von Rumpel is inside, it is unclear if she will survive. Even then, she tries to focus on the things she loves: reading, music, and the natural world. She participates in the resistance efforts because she wants to stand up for her beliefs, but when she meets Werner, she does not judge him because he is German. Marie-Laure also does not succumb to greed. The diamond is priceless, and it could be incredibly helpful in uncertain circumstances, but she leaves it behind in the grotto because she wants to be free from its negative legacy. At the very end of the novel, as an elderly woman, Marie-Laure can see how beautiful the changing world is, even though her life has been difficult and full of tragedy.