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When Women Were Birds
"Brilliant, meditative, and full of surprises, wisdom, and wonder." - Ann...
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What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

Created: 03/08/13

Replies: 12

Posted Mar. 08, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
admin

Join Date: 10/11/10

Posts: 369

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What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?


Posted Apr. 01, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
carolea

Join Date: 10/06/12

Posts: 9

RE: What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

i believe women can fly - certainly as a metaphor - for growing and if nothing else let souls and imaginations soar to many dimensions.


Posted Apr. 02, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
eileenp

Join Date: 10/20/10

Posts: 33

RE: What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

The birds in the book symbolize both connection and freedom. They connect her to her grandmother, and introduce her to her husband. They wheel across the sky together, and those made of x-rays connect her to her diagnosis. But they also occupy space, and move through the air in a way that humans can only dream of. It is our job as living beings to find the ways that we can fly and then to do so (which is much harder than it sounds).


Posted Apr. 02, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
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bestmartin

Join Date: 02/20/13

Posts: 14

RE: What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

I loved what Eileen just posted. And I agree that the birds symbolized freedom, connection and the soaring spirit. We can learn to let our spirit soar and roam. Often times in reading I felt and expanded sense as I floated along with her writing. It was a beautiful, often profound experience.


Posted Apr. 02, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
dianes

Join Date: 05/16/11

Posts: 53

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RE: What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

Wider vision and more freedom. Soaring through the skies. which is a metaphor for many things in life.


Posted Apr. 03, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
LReads

Join Date: 06/23/12

Posts: 27

RE: What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

I saw them as a symbol of the fact that women can soar but really like the insights that eileenp added about symbolizing connection as well.


Posted Apr. 03, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
mariannes

Join Date: 12/17/12

Posts: 149

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RE: What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

From the beginning, I thought the birds symbolized voice. "Voice" was in the title and she wrote a lot about the differences between the birds' songs or voices. I was thinking about her finding her voice in writing, since that was something I taught and evaluated in my students' writing. Voice is easy to recognize, but difficult to explain, especially to young a adolescents. However, as I read about her fear of talking about her attacker, I decided she also meant her physical voice. She was afraid to speak out. The birds became a symbol of courage and growth as she learned to speak up for what she believed.


Posted Apr. 03, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
joyces

Join Date: 06/16/11

Posts: 235

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RE: What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

For me the birds were sort of a connecting thread throughout. I think being able to fly for humans means being able to change our location, our circumstances, our occupation and what we eat and where we go pretty much at will and with a lot more control than birds have over their surroundings.


Posted Apr. 03, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
Gin

Join Date: 10/21/12

Posts: 24

RE: What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

I agree with the earlier posts that birds ( and their flight) symbolize freedom. As Williams says early on "We knew our greatest freedom was in taking flight at night, when we could steal the heavenly darkness for ourselves, navigating through the intelligence of stars and the constellations of our own making in the delight and uncertainty of our own making." It seemed to me that for Williams there was often a tension between being in society and doing what was expected of her and being free to be alone with her thoughts and doing what brought her delight.


Posted Apr. 07, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 82

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RE: What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

Definitely voice. Each bird has a unique voice as each of us has a unique voice. Terry grew up listening to the voices and feeling freedom in those voices. Now her voice is being heard.


Posted Apr. 08, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
poniesnpearls

Join Date: 06/28/11

Posts: 10

RE: What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

The birds, for me, symbolized having a disconnected relationship experience with someone who was able to fly away into her own space and time. Her mother lived her own life - watching, but distant. Sharing her physical life with her children because they were there, but not her thoughts (the empty journals) or who she really was. Refusing to participate in documenting her daily life, but pretending by buying the journals.


Posted Apr. 20, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
janec

Join Date: 09/06/11

Posts: 12

RE: What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

The birds taught quiet and listening. Each had a different voice and taught Terry to listen and to enjoy solitude. I love words and enjoy the solitude of reading and thinking about the books that I read.


Posted Apr. 21, 2013 Go to Top | Bottom | link | alert
donnam

Join Date: 04/04/13

Posts: 3

RE: What do the birds in the book symbolize? What do you think life would be like if you could "fly"?

I think they might symbolize being observant. Watching and listening and learning. Her grandmother gave her a gift when she taught her about birds. For Terry, birds are a legacy from her grandmother & something she cherishes. They provide solace.


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