Study Guide

Dancing on the Edge Memory and the Past

By Han Nolan

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Memory and the Past

If there's one thing the McCloy family totally rocks at in Dancing on the Edge, it's rewriting history. Think about it: They basically reinvent the entire story of their past so that they don't have to see Miracle as the product of a huge tragedy. They claim they're doing this for her, but they're so filled with raw, unprocessed grief and anger that they're really doing it mostly for themselves, reshaping Miracle's past so they don't have to look at their own mistakes.

Memory may be the enemy for Miracle, but with help and support, she's able to reclaim her own past and begin to shape her future. It's not easy, but it definitely seems to be worth it.

Questions About Memory and the Past

  1. What are Granddaddy Opal's and Gigi's attitudes toward Dane? What does this reveal about their relationship with each other? How about with themselves?
  2. How, specifically, is the family's rewriting of the past detrimental to Miracle?
  3. How does Miracle's desire to be a dancer connect with the past her family wants to keep from her?
  4. Why does Miracle block out the realization that Gigi is a fake? Why might this thought be traumatic for her?

Chew on This

The past may be messy, but Miracle has no future for herself until she actually understands where she comes from.

Granddaddy Opal shows kindness toward Miracle in an effort to keep Gigi from repeating the past.

Dancing on the Edge Memory and the Past Study Group

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