Writing Through Lit. HN
How the Stars Reflex in The Odd Sea
In The Odd Sea by Frederick Reiken symbolism is often used to portray a sense of something beyond this universe. Many of the symbols add to the mysticism and magic of the piece. This seems especially pertinent in the case of the star imagery and symbolism. The stars in The Odd Sea show significance because they seem to represent another dimension into which Ethan may have disappeared. This dimension is viewed by Ethan's mother, Philip, Halley and himself, but it seems that while Ethan desires to be a part of it his family is simply left to wonder about it. The stars come to represent something different to each member of the family. They are a comfort to some and a curse to others.
Ethan's mother is the first to view the cosmos with a sense questioning. Shortly after Ethan vanishes she becomes an insomniac, "spend[ing] hours […] out with the stars" (The Odd Sea 53). She seems to do this in an attempt to release her emotions. At night she would read books and bake or "Instead she'd stand out with the stars. She said on clear nights the sky could draw the sadness from her heart" (The Odd Sea 10). The mother's feeling of sadness is not a tangible one. As a result, for something to draw the emotion from her heart it must be intangible, yet also spiritually significant. In this way the stars represent to the mother release to some transcendent state. This brings no consolation to the mother, but it does bring some to a couple of her remaining children.
Philip and Halley view the stars with a mystical yet tangible aspect, allowing them to cope with their brother's loss better.
As Philip describes the first time they looked at the stars, he refers to them respect:
Sometimes we'd stand back-to-back, tilting our heads to gaze up at that starry ocean. We sort of treated the stars like God. We'd ask the stars to send back Ethan. We'd also ask them to help mom sleep....