So tonight, the Where the Crawdads Sing movie officially drops to the public, and I have to say that this all happened very fast in my mind. I remember reading the book in 2021 and really appreciating the complexity of people and emotions, and I did not expect the book to become a movie. When I heard the news this past March, I remember wondering how well the book would translate to screen.
It feels like I heard the news yesterday, and then I had some pictures from the set immediately. Then we had a trailer, and then Taylor Swift released an original song for the movie. Personally, I appreciate this quick roll out more than waiting for it, because it feels like I haven’t had to wait long for it at all. Unlike the Margot Robbie Barbie movie, which feels like it’s been teased for years now.
Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing the movie, but I am not going tonight. I am playing nurse to my boyfriend who just got his wisdom teeth pulled out, so to entertain myself, I thought I would do some movie predictions and hopes that I have before jumping into some book discussion questions that I pulled from bookclubs.com.
I don’t think that I really have many movie predictions, because I read the book, so my hope is that they are similar. The last time I went to the movies with my sisters, they told me that it’s a trend on social media to predict some stuff that happens in the movie before seeing it, so I thought I would give it a try.
After watching the trailer, I will say that I pictured Kya as a blonde. I don’t know what made me think that, but I did. I also don’t know if it’s just because the hairstyle was the same for males in the time period depicted, but I can’t tell much of a difference between Chase and Tate. Other than that, the trailer for the book looks phenomenal.
While the book is told chronologically, I don’t know if that would keep the attention for a film adaption. There’s a part of me that wants to be reeled into the movie, either with the scene of Kya being chased by the police or starting in the courtroom, and then having the story unfold through flashbacks and questions being answered.
The North Carolina marsh where Kya lives has long been a sanctuary for outsiders. How does this setting shape the novel? How does growing up in this isolation affect Kya? In what ways does her status as an “outsider” change how others see her?
Beyond just being a sanctuary for outsiders, the marsh itself is pretty isolating. From the reading, it seems to take a bit of effort to get into town, and no one from town really wanders around the marsh because they are unfamiliar with it. The setting itself is its own character that plays a significant role in the novel; it’s the one character that Kya can rely on, and living in it was how she was raised since her parents left.
Growing up this way helped her in some ways and hindered her in others. Since she had nothing else to entertain her, she definitely grew up with an appreciation for nature, and she had to develop quicker than other kids would because her survival depended on it. However, growing up in isolation like that meant that she wasn’t able to acclimate and blend in the way her peers did. She didn’t have the security that they had, and she was noticeably different from all of them.
On page 142, Kya watches the fireflies near her shack, and notices that the females can change their flashes to signal different things. What does this realization mean to Kya? What does it teach her about relationships? How does this lesson influence Kya’s decisions in the second half of the novel?
The shift that happens in the novel takes place right after this, and it seems to be a realization of power. The flashes change to lure males of different fireflies to the females. The males then become the victim as the females eat the males, which inspires a change in power dynamic for Kya.
For the first half of the story, everything is happening to her, and she has no control over any of it. Her mom leaving her, her dad abandoning her, her brother Jodie running away, Tate leaving her behind to go to school, and especially Chase raping her. She has no power or control, and the female fireflies teach her differently. Observing the fireflies has shown her that females have power, if you know how to properly manipulate it.
I don’t know if all firefly signals are the same for every species, but I imagine that if you put out the wrong signals, you’re not going to get what you want, or the exact results of what you want. So instead of sitting around and waiting, Kya takes her life into her own hands in the second half of the book, shifting from prey to predator.
Discuss how Kya’s observations of nature shape her vision of the world. Do you think these lessons adequately prepare her for life in Barkley Cove? Do you think human society follows the same rules as the natural world? Should it? Why or why not?
Kya’s observations of nature not only shape her vision of the world, but it is all encompassing and molds her into a survivor. She understands the world through her observations, and it helps her create beautiful metaphors. That is probably how she was able to craft poems as Amanda Hamilton. While it doesn’t adequately prepare her for a civilized life in Barkley Cove, it is a strong foundation that supports her as she deals with adversity. These observations also play a role in her surviving for as long as she did.
The difference between human society and the natural world would be the humanity aspect. Nature has its own cycles, animals act based on survival and instinct, and the seasons and weather basically control what happens. As humans, we have the ability to utilize logic in our decision making and empathize with others. It would be regressive to follow the same rules as the natural world when we have the ability to manipulate and control so much. That being said, no matter which world you live in, everyone is functioning on survival instincts of different magnitudes.
Were you surprised by the verdict in Chase’s murder trial? What about by the ending of the novel? Do you agree with Tate’s final decision? Why or why not?
I don’t think I was surprised by the verdict or the ending of the novel. Maybe it’s because Kya was the protagonist, but I was hoping for those things to happen (I’m trying not to spoil too much). There is something poetic about what Tate did, in my opinion. It’s his way of giving Kya peace, because she spent a majority of her life without feeling peace with her life and the people in it. The only time she really seemed to know peace was when she was exploring the marsh alone, or before Tate left for school.
Do you plan on seeing the movie Where the Crawdads Sing? Are there any book-to-screen adaptations that you believe have been done exceptionally well? What movie are you looking forward to seeing this summer? Tell me in the comments below, because I would love to hear them!
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