Study Guide

The White Darkness Loneliness

By Geraldine McCaughrean

Loneliness

There are no two ways about it: Sym is a very lonely young woman in The White Darkness. She has, like, two friends, one of whom she doesn't even like. It's not that she's a social outcast or anything; Sym's just an introvert who's going through a difficult patch in life. Her father died recently, and she feels out of step with her age group because she's not that into dating yet. On top of all that she's partially deaf (even with hearing aids), which can be isolating. The desolate Antarctic landscape suits her temperament—and also serves as a symbol for her solitude.

Questions About Loneliness

  1. Do you think that Sym will make more friends once she returns from Antarctica? Why or why not?
  2. On some level, does Sym enjoy her loneliness? Explain your answer using evidence from the text.
  3. Do you think Sym would feel just as isolated if she were blind instead of deaf? Why or why not?

Chew on This

The isolation Sym and her mother experience after Sym's father's death opens them to being victimized by Uncle Victor.

Sigurd Bruch preys on Sym more easily because of her solitude.

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