The Great Alone Symbols & Objects

Kristin Hannah
This Study Guide consists of approximately 134 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Great Alone.
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The Empty Flagpole

One of the first symbols in the novel is the empty flagpole at the Allbrights’ Seattle house, which represents Ernt’s discontent and instability. Leni and the narrator describe the flagpole’s emptiness as an “accusing” statement about the state of the country and the government’s betrayal of war veterans like Ernt (6). The anti-authoritarian gesture of the empty flagpole foreshadows Ernt’s descent into paranoia and violence over the following years.

Winter

The novel’s characters consider Alaskan winters a test of character: those who cannot handle the dark and isolation buckle, and those who can handle them find a place to belong. In Leni’s article at the end of the novel, she explains that “there is no middle ground, no safe place; not here, in the Great Alone” (438). All the characters Leni meets in Alaska have already found their place to...

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This section contains 1,190 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Great Alone Study Guide
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