Study Guide

The White Darkness Exploration

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Would you believe that a novel about Antarctica explores the theme of exploration? Yeah, of course you would. It almost seems mandatory. There are two main types of exploration in The White Darkness: physical (regular old walking around-type stuff) and emotional (a.k.a. feelings). Sym is much better at the former; she can get around fine by land. It's more difficult for her to explore her emotions, which seem like more treacherous territory. By the end of the book, she's explored plenty of both, though, and seems wiser for it. Phew.

Questions About Exploration

  1. Do you think Sym ever believes in Symmes's Hole? Or does she go on the expedition with Uncle Victor for other reasons? If so, what are they?
  2. What seems more important in The White Darkness: the exploration of the external world or the exploration of internal emotions?
  3. Why do you think Sym identifies with dead explorers from the early 20th century? Bust out evidence from the text to support your claim.

Chew on This

In the world of The White Darkness, exploration is a difficult and fulfilling pursuit.

In the world of The White Darkness, exploration is a difficult and empty pursuit.

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