Study Guide

The White Darkness Chapter 4

By Geraldine McCaughrean

Chapter 4

Dreams

  • Sym reflects on all that Victor has done for her and her mother since Sym's father died, including mowing the grass. Which, by the way, he cuts in a certain direction so the grass doesn't twist as it grows. (Did we mention Victor's crazy?)
  • He's also helped with money stuff. Sym thinks Victor must have been wiser with money than her father. The two men worked together in better times.
  • When he died, Sym's father left a lot of debt—so much so that her mum couldn't get a loan or extend the mortgage.
  • In Paris, Victor wants Sym to buy fancy clothes so she'll fit in on the trip, so she tries on a red silk outfit that makes her feel like a million bucks.
  • As Victor pays, a store clerk takes Sym aside to ask if Victor is her father. She seems worried. We know the feeling.
  • Now Sym and Victor are at a storage facility, where they pick up a new, huge bag that Victor evidently sent ahead. So he's been planning this for a while…
  • Victor dumps their old suitcase in the river, and with that, it looks like they're leaving their old life behind.
  • Sym is more than happy to leave that life behind. Things were hard for her at school, where she was known as a big nerd.
  • Her friend Hilary helped cement this reputation. One time, when Hilary came over after school, Victor told her Sym wanted to be home-schooled… even though he was the one who wanted it.
  • He also left a germophobe note in the bathroom about hand washing that Hilary thought was Sym's work.
  • Victor and Sym are on a plane now. It's been an eight-hour trip so far; they're having a conversation about dreams.
  • Sym tells us she prefers daydreaming. Her whole life is built around the daydream of Titus, after all.
  • She's having a hard time daydreaming on the flight, though, since she has a headache that even Victor's herbal medicines can't touch.
  • Victor's really into herbs, by the way. He has a mail-order degree in allopathy and everything. His herbs helped soothe Sym's dad in the months leading up to his death.
  • As Sym tries to work up a good daydream, she notices Victor making calculations about the plane's velocity on a napkin. Yep. Still crazy.

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