Celine by Peter Heller Themes & Motifs

Peter Heller
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Familial Pain and Estrangement

Dynamics of familial separation, and the pain therein, form the strongest connection between Celine and the novel’s central mystery, and the novel uses this connection as a means of exploring how estrangement between family members functions as an inherent source of pain in individuals’ experiences. The novel repeatedly emphasizes the fact that Celine is motivated in her work by traumatic instances of familial abandonment/separation in her past. One of these instances was when Celine became pregnant as a teenager and her mother forced her to give away the child. As Bobby once said to Hank, “It’s why [Celine] got into the whole PI thing in the first place, I think. Finding her daughter was all she thought about. She tried for years” (189). Thus, Celine’s work in cases such as Gabriela’s functions as a type of symbolic extension of...

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This section contains 2,255 words
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Buy the Celine by Peter Heller Study Guide
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