Study Guide

Dancing on the Edge Colors

By Han Nolan

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There's a lot about Gigi that's just plain freaky—her makeup and false eyelashes, her ability to manipulate others, the fact that she may or may not be behind her son's disappearance—but one of the most memorable elements of her freakiness is her obsession with, and superstitions regarding, colors. This book is packed with colors that relate to specific ideas—"green for seeking knowledge of the great beyond" (5.6), "pink for femininity" (4.69), and black, the color of "evil, darkness, death" (24.26).

While these colors may represent these concepts, though, all colors in the book represent one theme: Gigi's control of Miracle. Growing up with her crazy grandma literally indoctrinates Miracle into the concept of colors being inherently bad and good. This is especially apparent when Gigi starts forcing her to wear purple—"the most spiritual color" (3.31)—as a way of balancing out her aura.

Miracle, unfortunately, comes to believe this idea in an obsessive, unhealthy way: "Purple was spiritual," she explains, "purple was power. Purple protected me" (13.51). The reality, though, as Aunt Casey observes, is that purple is actually making her more depressed. Oops.

The really scary part is that even after Miracle moves to Aunt Casey's, she can't let go of the color superstitions. When she goes to Dr. DeAngelis's office, for example, she refuses to sit on the couch with Aunt Casey because she can't tell what color it is. "I want one I know the meaning of, so I know what I'm sitting on" (24.21), she says. Instead of being something beautiful or a source of power, then, colors become a source of fear for Miracle.

Through the healing she undergoes at the hospital, along with her realization that Gigi's magic isn't real, Miracle's able to set herself free from the mental control she's grown up under. "When it comes to numbers and colors, there will be no rules," she tells herself. "I'll wear orange and red and pink and sit on that strange blue-black-green couch in Dr. DeAngelis's office" (30.39). Letting go of the power she believes colors to possess, then, represents stepping out from under Gigi's control, too, and taking charge of her own destiny. You go, girl.

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