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42 pages 1 hour read

Kacen Callender

King and the Dragonflies

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2020

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Symbols & Motifs

Dragonflies and Cicadas

The dragonflies that King repeatedly encounters during his trips to the bayou are important symbols of his quest to understand himself and the world. According to Dragonfly Transitions, “In almost every part of the world, the dragonfly symbolizes change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization.” King goes through major changes in his life after his brother dies. By imagining his brother as a dragonfly, he is acknowledging a transformation that he does not fully understand.

At the end of the novel, he admits to himself that Khalid is not really a dragonfly: “Khalid wasn’t a dragonfly. He wasn’t anything that I could touch or see. But he’s been with me all along. He’ll stay with me until the end of time” (258). This more realistic outlook shows how King has matured. The fact that he now accepts that Khalid is gone shows he is starting to heal and move on. Khalid’s death is still painful for him, but it has also changed him, helped him to discover himself, and made him stronger. Moreover, he realizes that Khalid will always be with him in the form of memories and the wisdom about the universe that he gave him. As Dragonfly Transitions explains, “The eyes of the Dragonfly symbolize the uninhibited vision of the mind . . . Dragonflies can be a symbol of self that comes with maturity.

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By Kacen Callender