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Grief Is the Thing With Feathers Summary & Study Guide

Max Porter
This Study Guide consists of approximately 32 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Grief Is the Thing With Feathers.
This section contains 522 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Grief Is the Thing With Feathers Study Guide

Grief Is the Thing With Feathers Summary & Study Guide Description

Grief Is the Thing With Feathers Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Grief Is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter.

This study guide was created using the following version of this book: Porter, Max. Grief is the Thing with Feathers: A Novel. Graywolf Press. 2015.

Grief is the Thing with Feathers is a novella in which a man with two young sons loses his wife unexpectedly. A crow simply referred to as "Crow" arrives to help the family grieve. The unnamed characters convey the story with the use of alternating narratives. Dad is concerned with the immediate aftermath of losing his wife and how he will help his sons cope. Crow offers insight in how to grieve, to heal, and to live. The boys give their perspective of watching their father grieve over the years and how they grow up without their mother.

Family and friends check in on the family after the death, but soon, the family is all alone to cope with their loss. Dad is working on a book about Ted Hughes and his seminal work called “Crow." He tries to focus on his book, but he is distracted by his loss. He is unable to concentrate and everything around him reminds him of his wife and how much he loves her.

Crow arrives one night after the wife dies. He works to keep Dad from dwelling too much in his grief. He fights off demons to protect the family. He also mocks Dad as a way to keep him from being too serious. He assists with the boys, helping them draw pictures and protecting them from the demons as well. In one of his fairy tales, he even taunts the boys with the possibility of bringing their mother back to them.

Crow knows that he must stay with the family until they no longer need him. As time passes, Crow encourages Dad to try and move on with his life. He suggests that Dad find a lover. When Dad does so, making love to a woman reminds him of making love to his wife, and he does not want it to be the same. The boys think it best that their father never remarries, but they are okay with the girlfriends he has over the years.

The loss of their mother causes the boys to lash out. They fight with each other and shoot crows with air rifles. Sometimes the boys view themselves as one unit, but they also realize that they do not tell the same stories about their father the same way.

Finally, Dad decides that it is time to spread his wife’s ashes. He takes the boys out of school and to the beach. While Dad realizes that the grief will stay with him, he knows it is time to say goodbye. At the beach, the boys play in the sand and they all fall asleep. Once Dad wakes, he leaves the boys and goes to the shoreline to say goodbye to his wife. He tells her how much he loves her, recites one of his favorite poems, and begins to let her go. The boys wake up and run on the beach declaring their love for their mother as well.

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This section contains 522 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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