This section of Only Revolutions starts off Autumn (“Air Chills/Eventually a chill”, both Sam and Hailey on pg. 201), and with it, animals and plants seem to be dying off in droves. From Sam’s section, we have dying plovers, tortoises, sandhill cranes, and wild boars (228), “going” timberwolves, alligators, raccoons, and porcupines (240). Hailey echoes this sentiment, with “ginko, sweetgum, and lyre sage strangely cut down and hastening” (227) and persimmons, cotton, rosemary and peppermint dying (240). Dr. Thomas mentioned in class how the animals/plants have been seen as a Greek chorus, and if we look at them this way, the cast of the novel is dying off. As a Greek chorus, they would have served as background information and commentary, and their death could either result from having no information to give, or more likely, to echo the changing seasons and passing time.
However, what if they aren’t used exactly as a Greek chorus? I see them more as straight symbols in the narratives. For example, alligators are referenced only twice in the novel, with the first mention of them living on page 141, then dying on page 240 (both referenced in Sam’s narrative). These quotes are exactly equidistant from 180/181, the middle of the novel. Hailey’s persimmons are the same way, mentioned exactly 59 pages before the middle of the novel, then they die 59 pages after the middle. Ginko, sweetgum, and lyre sage are each mentioned 46 pages away from the center of the novel. I imagine that every mention of a plant or animal is cycled back within the narrative, given a certain amount of time that is marked half over by the middle of novel. Instead of just marking that time has passed, the animals and plants also act as another cycle of the novel. What lives, dies and ages, except Hailey and Sam.
*sidenote: while finding a circle of life that wasn’t related to the Lion King, the circle of Samsara appeared, which is the Hindu cycle of reincarnation. Pretty cool considering that’s Hailey’s first word.