Litotes, Hyperbole, and Synesthesia in All the Light We Cannot See

Categories: Novel

At the beginning of the novel “All the Light We Cannot See” , Marie Laure is shown as being completely dependent on her father, who creates intricate models of the city so that she can easily navigate it. But as the novel progresses, Marie Laure utilizes her ingenuity to help herself do things on her own. This ability of hers inspires and makes her character unique. Instead of being held back by her blindness, Marie uses Synesthesia- where she experiences things through her senses to make sense of her world.

Synesthesia is considered as first rate source for creativity. It is not surprising then that famous people who made use of Synesthesia to see the world included Vladimir Nabokov and Wassily Kandinsky. Marie Laure seems to explore the world with science which coincides with Werner Pfennig who is thousands of miles away.

Marie-Laure was not born as a blind person but due to certain circumstantial stance of the world she goes blind and for her, blindness is simply a part of her life where she tends to overview her blindness rather than debilitating on it.

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Marie's father works in Natural History Museum where Marie's interest falls on science intuitively. The notion of science as a natural orderedly way of looking over the world is brought out by the National History Museum. Instantaneously, the Museum brings up the notion of 'Sea of Flames', a valuable diamond preserved by the Museum. And the conception of the 'curse' to decide whether its real or not is left to people.

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The curse is otherwise seen as a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is a paradox of the diamond wherein its both extremely beautiful, alluring, prepossessing and menacing. It also shows people's selfishness relied upon it. And the typical Marie Laure grows up learning science (since it helps her to understand and rationalize the world) presents a challenge of whether she should fear for the stone irrationally or act as a scientific person by ignoring the superstition of the stone.

But instead she's continuously haunted by Fate- The Fate that has control over all lives and Marie is determined to protect her father from all dangers. During World War II a complete change occurs in Marie Laure's Life where all her goals and ambitions are swamped with the invasion of France and her studies which would have shaped her world with intelligence and perseverance are beseted.

Marie gets inspired by Jules Verne who is well known as the Father of Science Fiction, and Verne is astutely known for his brave and intelligent characters such as Phileas Fogg who uses inventiveness to understand the world, is impeccable, rationale and explores adventures which Marie Laure aspires to do. With the invasion of France, Marie and her father flee to Etienne's Marie's Uncle house in Saint Malo. Because of Etienne's agoraphobia, a post-traumatic stress of World War I, Etienne remains staying in his room and Marie is solely accompanied by Madame Manec. One of the most important feature of the World War II was the French Resistance. French resistance was a collection of french movements that was created to fight against the Nazi German occupation of France.

According to Chris Trueman in the history learning site says that, ‘The French Resistance movement provided the Allies with vital intelligence reports, methods to disrupt the german supply of goods and the communication lines within France. One of the crucial role of the movement was to attack the Germans when possible. The movement was led by Charles de Gaulle, the leader of French Resistance who succeeded in assassinating most of the German officials thereby debilitating the German war effort’. In this novel All the Light We Cannot See, French Resistance plays a major part in lives of the reluctant Resistance fighter Etienne, along with Madame Manec and Marie Laure who fight against oppression by participating in the French Resistance against Germans. Madame Manec comforts Marie during the time of her crisis and at the same time inspires her to become a French Resistance fighter by delivering loafs of bread that carry secret message codes that undermines German power.

By viewing the risk of life with Madame Manec's involvement in the French Resistance, Marie also shows interest in actively participating in the French Resistance by naming herself as 'Whelk', since Marie is interested in mollusks, whelks and science, she names herself as a Whelk which is actually a shell that represents beauty and patient resilience. Marie tries to symbolize her as slow and self-sufficient as a whelk.

Marie Laure and her father's relationship is a special bond after the loss of her mother, Marie is completely dependent on her father Daniel Le Blanc who is a genius and a resourceful man. On the other hand, Daniel is completely devoted to his daughter and wants her to be independent and a unique one. In the course of the novel, the disappearance of Daniel Le Blanc, makes Marie to be in a depressed state on the other hand, Marie's blindness seems to succumb her, as she's considered as a sub-human by the Nazi Germany. For a while, she loses her confidence and doubts on her past abilities by the time Etienne boosts her up with his fantasy stories and excites her thinking about science and exploring the world. After Madame Manec's death, Marie views Madame Manec as a pliant leader in her moral development to subvert the Nazis in France and to focus on important things in her life.

After Madame Manec's death, Marie views Madame Manec as an example of bravery and leadership. She wishes to follow in her footsteps and joins the Resistance and fight the Nazis in France, where Etienne also joins hands with Marie Laure in helping her with the French Resistance. Even at such a young age, Marie stands bravely disobeying the Nazis and she does what seems to be right for her. Both Etienne and Marie choose to act accordingly to their morals. In absence of Daniel Le Blanc, Etienne acts as a surrogate father by being protective and both Etienne and Marie become efficient in broadcasting the source codes that reaches thousands of resistance fighters. When other people are immobilized, Marie manoeuvres the war torn city and the courage she gains to be self-sufficient makes her stand on grounds when she directly comes in contact with Von Rumpel who tracked all the way for the stone but their meeting ends up being disreputable. Soon Etienne also disappears from Marie's life and in her mind, the curse of the diamond of being separated from beloved ones comes true.

Marie stays in the attic in the wardrobe of Etienne and plays a poignant music in course of calling out for help at which time Von Rumpel reaches Etienne's house tracking for the stone but is unable to find it. The music seems to be worthless for Von Rumpel but for Werner the diamond goes worthless but the music is priceless. Werner comes in to rescue Marie, being trickled by her broadcasts and their meeting seems to be a rendezvous scene where an inexorable force gets them together. Throughout her life, Marie tends to attain peace and simplicity which she hopes to gain in the future. As Marie grew older she regains the understanding of Manec's statement of 'our eyes meets more than what we see'. Marie is now a scientist in a laboratory studying mollusks that always fascinated her in stability and tranquility. Marie Laure truly lives for the passions and ambitions of her father and will continue by passing on to her descendants.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Litotes, Hyperbole, and Synesthesia in All the Light We Cannot See. (2024, Feb 09). Retrieved from

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