Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver was a very interesting novel. Personally, I felt that it was a little slow and lacked a plot. However, I was able to connect to the characters because of Kingsolver’s rich dialogue, which made the story more enjoyable.
This novel relates to climate change because it focused on how monarch butterflies were disappearing due to the increasing in temperature. The main character, Dellarobia Turnbow was distraught through out the entire book as she learned more about climate change. Her character can be compared to the everyday person in today’s society that lacks knowledge about climate change. Ovid Byron is the monarch butterfly specialist who informs Dellarobia about climate change. His character can be compared to the small percentage of our society that has knowledge about climate change and is active in solving the problem. Dellarobia is in disbelief while at the same time she experiences a strong urge to make a change. Her reaction can be compared to that of most people’s today’s society. Many people cannot fathom the idea that our earth is warming due to human impact. In addition, many people have a similar response that there should be an immediate change to help solve the issue.
The most prevalent aspect that I took away from this novel was the symbolism of butterflies. Dellarobia, being a very religious woman, sees the butterflies’ disappearance as a sign that the world is going to end. She even goes as far as trying to commit suicide. What stops her from jumping off the cliff is when she sees the monarch butterflies appear. She takes their re-appearance of the butterflies as a sign of hope that the earth and humanity can recover from climate change. Kingsolver uses the butterfly as a symbol for faith, hope, rebirth and nature itself. Kingsolver chose to have the butterflies re-appear during this part of the book to send the message that mother nature will always prevail humanity. Similar to how religion gives people a sense of comfort and peace, nature also supports humanity in this way.
As I was reading this novel, I felt the strong desire form the characters to preserve the butterflies. In this way, the desire to preserve the butterflies can be compared to the desire to preserve the earth. Humans instinctually want to preserve nature because it is precious to us. On the flip side, we can also do harmful things to nature, which is a direct result of climate change. Now that we see the consequences of our actions, we have to make the decision if we want to continue destroying the earth for convenience and pleasure or make some kind of radical change by stopping our selfish ways so that we can preserve what is left.