1) I love how the narrator tries to make sense of her sister’s seizures, calling them “earthquakes,” hoping they might be catching like colds. She calls it her “job” to watch over her sister — she doesn’t seem to resent her duties. Do you think there are times when she does?
Children really do make the best metaphors and similes. When my son was two, he noticed the rain was like tears. I think I lost it.
As for resentment, up until this point, I don’t think the narrator has felt it. She has taken it upon herself to monitor her sister’s health, and she’s fantasized about taking on the sickness in order to save her sister, but she seems willing, almost desperate, to do it.
Now that I’m thinking of it, maybe there is a little power thing in there too, a little power in being a martyr for someone you love. There’s fear and sorrow, for sure, but there’s also this sense of duty, of purpose. In the end, Oona’s recovery (or perceived recovery) doesn’t come from the narrator; instead, it comes quite mysteriously. As a result, the narrator begins to see Oona as something otherworldly, and the power shifts, perhaps, from the narrator to Oona.
2) When the girls go out to find the meteor, the narrator says they know they should wake their mother, but they don’t. Children always seem to keep beautiful secrets like this from their parents, keep them private and precious. Do these two have other secrets from their mother?
Oh, I’m sure they do have a few other delicious, innocent secrets. But this feels like it might be bigger than the others. Perhaps they are breaking away from the conventional ways their mother has tried to treat Oona’s seizures, or perhaps they simply know their mother would never let them go see it. Either way, leaving the house alone and walking toward a fire is a big deal for them.