Study Guide

Dancing on the Edge Identity

By Han Nolan

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It's pretty normal for teens to ask a lot of questions about who they are, where they are going, and where they belong. What's definitely not normal, though, is for them to believe that they don't even exist. Nonetheless, this is where we find Miracle for much of her journey in Dancing on the Edge—terrified that due to the circumstances of her birth and how people react to her, she's actually nobody.

While it may take some terrifying and disturbing circumstances to teach her the truth, Miracle is eventually able to come to terms with her past and allow her individual personality, not the events of her birth, to define her. Yay—way to do you, girl.

Questions About Identity

  1. Why does Miracle believe she isn't real? What evidence does she have for this? How do her family members reinforce her belief that she isn't real?
  2. How does Miracle use pain as a method of asserting her identity? Pick two instances and compare and contrast them.
  3. What about Emily Dickinson's poetry does Miracle so strongly relate to? For a jump start, check out our "What's Up With the Epigraph" section.

Chew on This

In trying to self-destruct by setting herself on fire, Miracle realizes for the first time that she is real.

It is impossible for Miracle to begin figuring out who she is until everyone in her life stops lying to her—any sense of identity she forms before this is based on lies.

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