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Moon Over Manifest

Moon Over Manifest


by Clare Vanderpool

Analysis: Writing Style

Interwoven (Preschool Placemats)

Did you ever do that awesomely fun project in kindergarten where you weave different-colored strips of construction paper together to make a placemat? Well, that's the way Moon Over Manifest is put together: you've got two different storylines weaving over and under and over and under, until they finally join up to create a really cute pattern that your teacher laminates and you can use to eat your lunch on. Wait—sorry, we got a little confused there.

The story itself is woven out of several different parts:

  • Abilene's story,
  • Miss Sadie's story,
  • and a bunch of primary sources.

As Abilene says, "All I know is that her story flowed in and out of mine" (40.8).

But the way the characters speak also gives the book the feel of many different parts coming together to make a whole. You've got Miss Sadie's Hungarian accent flavoring her dialogue, the country talk that lots of townspeople use floating around, and then the foreign accents of the immigrants from Germany, Ireland, Poland, Greece. With everything from "But the Widow Cane, she is dead, no?" (22.39) to "Aye, it'll be a right bloody battle to keep that land away from Devlin" (22.46), it's definitely a melting pot in here.

Miss Sadie puts it best when she says, "[s]omething greater than the sum of its parts" (25.76).

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