I thought that Flight Behavior by Barbra Kingsolver was a very interesting read. Although the pacing was a little slow, I was able to really connect with the characters and their situations, especially Dellarobia.
When the story starts I was honestly kind of bored. Dellarobia’s life is nothing but a constant daily routine of taking care of children, her husband included. She cleans, cooks and follows the orders of her in-laws. She is not one to stand up for herself and the most interesting moments are the moments when she talks of breaking away from it all. As Dellarobia gets more involved with the butterflies and climate change, I found myself more connected and intrigued by her story. Her interest and intensity on the subject is something I can definitely relate to. In the beginning of the book she is just as ignorant to climate change as I was. She goes about her day-to-day life thinking that the weather is just weird, and that it’s just the kind of year they’re having. As she discovers the truth about what is really going on, her passion ignites and she becomes emotionally invested. As I learn more about climate change and the effect it will have on my life, I definitely become more passionate about it.
I think that Kingsolver is successful in representing true reactions to global warming through her characters. Dellarobia represents the type of people who see that there is a problem, hate the fact that it is happening, but in the end feel like they can do little to actually help it. Then you have Ovid Byron who represents those who are extremely passionate about climate change. He obviously represents the scientists who pour their heart and soul into fixing the issue. Then there is pretty much every other character that represents everyone else. These other characters are quick to write it off as the hand of God, like Hester. Or it just doesn’t fit into what they have believed their entire life, like Cub. I think that these characters accurately portray the different attitudes people have on climate change.
The book ends hopeful, which I think is nice, but also kind of gives a false sense of security. Throughout the book the butterflies symbolize climate change and how everything kind of hangs in the balance. In the end the butterflies fly off to a new world and it is this sort of happy ending. I think that this ending is counterproductive to the whole message of global warming. It is sort of saying ‘hey there is global warming and it’s messing things up, but don’t worry because in the end it will all be okay’, which in reality is not the case. I think that if Kingsolver would have ended the story with something a little more drastic, it would have left the reader with a more realistic understanding of what climate change can do.