Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews October 10, 2023
October 3, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.
Meridian is plagued by a mysterious inherited illness, much like epilepsy, which parallels and triggers her spiritual and physical transformation. The sickness renders her unconscious, episodes she refers to as “falling down,” and it subjects her to paralysis, blindness, and hair loss. On one hand, the condition connects her directly with her father and great-grandmother, who suffered the same burden. The illness is also the physical rendering of Meridian’s deep emotional and spiritual angst, the grief and sadness that have marked and gripped her throughout her life. The illness becomes a means for Meridian to suffer, to perform penance for this ambiguous wrong she felt she has done. It also offers her atonement and, ultimately, self-acceptance. When she is well again, rising out of her sick bed and heading full force into the future, she can finally forgive herself and love and accept herself for who she is.
Walker prefaces her novel with a lengthy list of definitions and traditional usages of the word meridian. A total of twelve different meanings are included for both the word’s noun and adjectival form. This alone signifies the fact that Meridian resists easy definition or simple categorization. She is a complex and capacious character whose presence and identity cannot be reduced to a simple phrase or formulation. The term also sets up a comparison between Meridian and the growing civil rights movement. One of the most common definitions of the term is “zenith, the highest point of power, prosperity, splendor.” Not only does the novel trace the rise and growing power of social activism, united in the face of racist and segregationist policies, but it also tracks the ascent of Meridian from her spiritual and physical pain to a newly whole being in full charge of her capacities and inner wealth. An alternate meaning, “distinctive character,” applies just as well to the novel’s protagonist and namesake.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Meridian!