Study Guide

The White Darkness Madness

By Geraldine McCaughrean

Madness

To loosely quote the Cheshire Cat, most everyone is mad here. At just fourteen, Sym has had to deal with more than her fair share of people who are off their rockers in The White Darkness. Haunted by the memory of her father, who went mad before he died, Sym sometimes worries she's losing her mind. (Admittedly, she does have an imaginary friend, but she understands he's not real.) What she should be worried about is Uncle Victor, who is off his rocker and taking her farther and farther from civilization every second.

Questions About Madness

  • At what point did you realize that Uncle Victor was out of his mind? Identify the passage and then dissect it to explain why this was when you knew.
  • Why do you think it takes Sym so long to recognize Victor's insanity? Back your answer up with evidence from the text.
  • Why doesn't Sym care when Sigurd accuses her of being crazy? How does Sym relate to madness?

Chew on This

Victor's insanity intensifies as he thinks he's getting closer to Symmes's Hole.

Victor's descent into madness isn't inevitable; Sym could have stopped it if she'd tried.

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