Whirligig Literary Qualities

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Fleischman uses a first person narrative and an unusual plot construction. Unexpectedly, the reader finds himself reading about two young girls in Maine and a ritual one of them has developed to bring a special boy into the life of her best friend. The girls seat themselves under the whirligig constructed and installed by Brent, the last of the four he built. The story flashes forward in reverse chronological order to four separate stories about the encounters of people and the whirligigs.

The whirligigs of the story become a metaphor for Brent's life as it flashes, twists, and turns, in chaotic disorder. Then order is restored as he fashions each whirligig and finds just the right spot for it. The whirligigs take on lives of their own as they affect the lives of individuals in each location.

An economy of language utilizes tangible metaphors as seen in an...

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This section contains 225 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy the Whirligig Study Guide
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