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Reader’s Den

Reader's Den: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, Week 4

The Night Circus, as we've discussed, has a nearly obsessive focus on time; its passing, linearity and infinite nature. This is exemplified in the workings of its magnificent clock and its mechanical operation.

However, within the clockworks resides a nearly infinite number of possibilities to enthrall attendees. For example splashes of color are found throughout the strict black-and-white scheme. The twins' red scarves and the fires lit on the circus's opening night come to mind.

This leads to several interesting interpretations of the novel. Some literature professors are fond of drawing contrasts between classicists and romantics when discussing literary criticism. They liken classicists to football fans and romantics to baseball fans.

Classicists like the chaos of football contained by strict rules. Penalties abound and the game is supposedly tightly controlled. Romantics gravitate to baseball because its very nature allows for an infinity of results breaking loose from its rules.

Do you see the circus as something confined by its unwritten laws? Or, like baseball, does it erupt from those confines in a burst of colorful heroics?


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