Study Guide

Pure Wings

By Julianna Baggott


Butterflies, Birds, Cicadas, Oh My!

A guy in the book has dang wings stuck in his back—wings are hardly a secret symbol in the world of Pure. But what could all these wings possibly mean?

Well, inside the Dome there are no birds. In fact, the mental hospitals install fake windows with fake birds flying around in order to make their patients feel calmer. And it's not just that bird watching is a relaxing activity. Birds are a fairly universal symbol of freedom.

And, lo and behold: wings are a symbol of hope and freedom in Pure. Wings allow you to fly; they allow you to see everything from up above; they allow you to ascend and even transcend. In the Dome, there is no hope to transcend or become anything better. Any kind of hope is artificial inside the Dome, manufactured by the government and the genetic coding.

Remember when Lyda finally stepped outside the Dome?

And there, before her, is a gust of wind, dirt, sky—and something cutting across that sky. A real bird. (44.39)

Outside the Dome, there are wild beasts with wings, butterflies, mechanical cicadas, and even a boy with birds in his back. The hope that springs from wings is that one day the wretches will ascend and overcome the Dome.

Lyda had no hope or freedom inside the Dome, but now that she exits, she finally sees a real bird fluttering in the sky. This is the first time Lyda is granted the ability to actually feel a sense of freedom… or at least the possibility of freedom.