Study Guide

Dancing on the Edge Dane's Candle Bottles

By Han Nolan

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Dane's Candle Bottles

When Miracle and her family go into the basement after receiving the message that Dane's disappeared from the Ouija board (or Gigi, depending on whose version you believe), they're confronted with a striking yet kind of creepy sight:

We all stood together in a breathless clump, dazzled by the lights of Dane's candle bottles. They were everywhere—on his shelves, on his desk, lining the edges of the window casements, and covering the floor like a flaming blanket. (2.4)

The candles are one of the peculiarities of Dane's character—as Miracle relates, he liked to put candles in his empty wine bottles and light them as a ceremony when his writing was going well.

The candle bottles tell us a couple of things. First, Dane had some of the same mystic, magical view of the world as his mom. The ritual of lighting the bottles, Miracle says, was directly related in his mind to the destiny of his current project—"We'd light the candles and sit together on his bed and watch them, and Dane would describe to me the really big celebration we'd have when he sold his new book" (3.15). Okay, so dude's definitely superstitious.

Additionally, there's a rumor that Dane's a bit of an alcoholic. And based on the number of bottles he has available to put candles in, well, it's probably safe to say that this rumor might have some truth to it. Despite these negative connotations, though, Miracle still sees the candle bottles as a symbol of magic and of her father's free-spirited, creative personality:

Through the flames of the candle bottles, I could see the magic that shimmered in the room and spiced the air, the kind of magic that gets you believing in miracles. (3.15)

You know what's actually magical to Miracle? Her only living parent, a.k.a. Dane. Where she sees magic shimmering, we can see love—heck, when she starts her fake love spell business, she even asks for candle bottles as payment, literally asking to be paid in objects that remind her of her dad. The candle bottles, then, are a powerful reminder of her father and the magic she associates with him.

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