69 pages • 2 hours readBryn Greenwood
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Symbols & Motifs
Content Warning: This section references physical and emotional abuse and drug use, and it centers on a sexualized relationship between an adult and a minor.
Fear neutralizes love. Love must come freely, and fear inhibits. Throughout All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, characters struggle with fear. A cloud of constant threat hangs over Parts 1 through 3. Wavy attempts to order her life by following a series of rules gleaned from her mother’s rants. Never knowing which version of her mother will appear from day to day, Wavy must prepare for the worst and be hypervigilant. Her father, while rarely around, presents a physical threat, almost never encountering Wavy without hitting her. This abuse shapes the way Wavy relates to those around her. She fears her mother will hurt her brother, so she protects him, hindering her ability to love him unconditionally. She knows they both have to avoid Val’s wrath.
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Wavy’s love for Kellen remains questionable as long as she offers it from this destabilized place. Of course, Wavy loves Kellen; Kellen offers her respect, protection, and a certain measure of stability. An eight-year-old child depends on these factors to develop into a healthy adult, and Wavy can find them nowhere else.