Study Guide

Nine Perfect Strangers What's Up With the Epigraph?

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What's Up With the Epigraph?

You suppose you are the trouble
But you are the cure
You suppose that you are the lock on the door
But you are the key that opens it


Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it.

—George Carlin

If you were scratching your head and thinking that these epigraphs contradicted each other a bit, we won’t argue with you. Shmoop’s getting a heavy contrary vibe from these two quotes, too.

Let’s start with the Rumi quote, which implies that the key to happiness and wellness is right inside our hearts. That ties in really nicely with the themes of this book. The nine Tranquillum House guests assume that they needed to change something about their lives, but they just needed to figure out that the key to their own happiness is right inside them all along. Change comes from within. Ommm.

But just in case you were feeling very “Namaste,” here’s George Carlin to flip the script on you. His quote seems to mean that change is constant. Just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, life goes and pulls a big ol' switch-a-roo on you. At the end of the story, our nine perfect strangers have found happy endings, but will it last? Have we ever truly figured life out?

Whoa. That’s a lot of thinking packed into two short little quotes.

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