Essay on Summary and Response to the book The Drifting of Spirits by Gisele Pineau

The novel The Drifting of Spirits written by Gisele Pineau discusses the rise and fall of some young man guided by the spirits who roam in the real world and drift between darkness and light, between misfortune and happiness of ordinary people. The events of the novel take place in Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe. The novel consists of two parts. The first part is A Time for Going Around and the second part is A Time for Coming Around. The novel gives an opportunity to the readers to better understand the nature of life on the earth. The author of the novel Gisele Pineau tells the story of the family, the bloodline of which includes Sosthène and Ninette. It is known that their son Léonce had a clubfoot and caul which are considered to be the spiritual elements and which signify “a gift of access to the world of spirits” (Pineau 6).  Some people said that the boy was blessed at birth. The main character of the novel, Léonce was not an ordinary man because he can communicate with his family’s ancestral spirits. The boy’s mother Ma Ninette considered that this gift was a curse. She tried to help her son to get rid of this gift, pounding the caul regularly and feeding it to her son Léonce. Soon the gift disappeared and the boy was left with the clubfoot. However, the clubfoot was a serious problem for the boy. It was not the mark of blessing any more. The clubfoot became a burden for Léonce. Many people in the village ignored the boy and his peers ostracized him. Léonce felt alone and nobody wanted to help him.

However, he was lucky because he met the young girl Myrtha and won her heart. His gift was returned to him by Ma Octavia, his spirit grandmother. It was done in recognition of the deepest devotion to her before death. Léonce realized that his gift can be easily taken away. The author shows that the relationship the main character had with his ancestral spirits influenced his fate.

The novel The Drifting of Spirits teaches the readers to see the connection between past, present and future. It also helps to understand that the fates of Léonce and his family members are closely connected with the past events and greatly influence the events of the future. The family’s rise and fall are determined by the drifting spirits. The main characters in the novel learn to honor the spirits and to observe them. The spirits can manipulate and direct them. Moreover, the spirits can easily infiltrate human body in order to evoke the power of memory. Pineau’s novel represents the experiences of the transitioning characters, as well as their ups and downs. The author discusses the theme of crossing and passing. Numerous events represented in the novel symbolize the so-called cycles of the individual’s development and growth. It is easy to find the scenes of creation and the scenes of destruction. Crossing and passing symbolize the fluidity of movement from one phase in the life of the main character to the next phase. Lonce had to listen to the spirits because they guided his fate, and he should not disobey them.


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