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Animal Dreams

Barbara Kingsolver
Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title Animal Dreams

author  Barbara Kingsolver

type of work  Novel

genre  Novel of the American Southwest; novel of social commentary and cultural critique.

language  English (with some Spanish words interspersed throughout)

time and place written  Written between 1988 and 1990, mostly in Tucson, Arizona.

date of first publication  1990

publisher  HarperCollins

narrator  Codi (Cosima) Noline and an anonymous third person limited narrator with the perspective of Doc Homer (Homero) Noline

climax  The major emotional climaxes of the novel are Hallie's death and Codi's decision to return to Grace permanently. The major climax in the external events of the novel is the discovery of the Historic Place Registry, which will save Grace.

protagonist  Codi

setting (time)  The 1980s

setting (place)  Grace, Arizona, with a few forays to the surrounding Indian reservations and to Tucson, Arizona.

point of view  Switches back and forth between Codi's (first person) and Doc Homer's (third person) point of view, although the majority of the novel is told from Codi's point of view.

falling action  Hallie leaves for Nicaragua, and Codi returns home to Grace to care for her ailing father; Codi learns that Grace is menaced by the pollution and the impending damming of the river.

tense  Present, interspersed and often confused with past as memory is confused with reality.

tone  Very sincere, almost naïvely so, although also self-aware, as in the idealization of Native American Cultures that Codi participates in but also comments on.

themes  The importance of ecology; the value of fertility; family and community;

motifs  Medicine and doctors; distance

symbols Peacocks; the afghan

foreshadowing  Foreshadowing is employed throughout the novel, both in the traditional sense of suggesting events that will occur later on, most notably Hallie's death, and also by suggesting secrets from the past that will be revealed at a later time.