The Whirligig Connects Them All

Celtic KnotThe Celtic Knot: an image symbolizing the Celtic’s belief of inter-connectedness in life, eternity, and death. The Celtics believed that everything is connected in some way or another, that the universe is aligned just so that there is a balance of pain and joy, war and peace, life and death. They believed there is no life without death, peace without war, etc…

So far in Whirligig, we have encountered many themes. At the half-way point of this 133 page novel, Brent has been through a lot. Everything is set in motion when he attends a party, is publicly humiliated, and causes a car crush in a drunken, suicidal haze. While he suffers only minor injuries, he does kill a girl, Lea, who he later learns from her mother, was consistently spreading joy wherever she went. The mother of the murdered girl offers a depressed, isolated Brent a chance at restitution – he will go around the country and build whirligigs in the pursuit of his penance and spreading Lea’s positive spirit. Brent meets a few people on his journey and they greatly ameliorate his motivation for what he is doing. It’s why one of the main themes of the novel is interconnectedness, the ripple effect – Any actions someone does can influence the lives of others.

In Whirligig, we get to see how Brent’s actions and creations influence the lives of those he has and never will meet. For example, the Puerto-Rican street-sweeper sees a whirligig Brent inevitably builds and it effectively wraps up the man’s thoughts and worries about his life, answering the EQ “How do the actions of others influence our own lives?”.  Prior to seeing the whirligig, the man was in a state of confusion where there seemed to be a constant war going on and he could not figure out why. The man just could not find anything but wars around people, but then he sees the whirligig of a little wooden band, playing in harmony. It inspires him to go back home to his family, but he also talks about how people must work in groups, that there is a reason animals stick together. We rely on others, and there is a balance that must be achieved. This later influences Brent, out of pure coincidence, when he is almost robbed and understands “why animals travel in herds” (p. 66).

Also in Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Brent admires the stars Vega, Deneb, and Altair who form the Summer Triangle, but are also the brightest stars of their respective constellations. These constellations are connected to each other because of a certain set of phenomena that put them in line with each other, just as Brent is connected to all those in his karass, although he may not know it. Brent is connected to those who have influenced his life, but also to those lives that he has influenced by building the whirligigs. Because time and space aligned just right, all the characters we meet in the story are interconnected through the whirligigs and their lives are influenced.



(Ha. See what I did there, in that last sentence? Used wording from the EQ and applied it to the situations in the book and linked it to the theme. Clever, eh?)