The Tiger's Wife

Unite and Divide: Storytelling in The Tiger's Wife 12th Grade

Stories, like the ones experienced by the grandfather in The Tiger's Wife and then re-told to Natalia, are part of the aspect that shapes a community, and distressful situations unite groups of people for better or for worse, depending on the community’s reaction. In Tea Obreht's novel, Natalia interacts with the stories of her grandfather’s past, and the stories she creates with him. In three separate but seemingly connected stories, Natalia learns many things about her grandfather and herself, and realizes that even if her grandfather is no longer with her, the values and morals that he taught her in those stories will assist her in any time of need. Calling to mind the grandfather’s keepsake of The Jungle Book, Natalia begins to gather her own collection of stories that comfort her when she is faced with adversity. Through the stories in her novel, Obreht shows us that stories can help unify groups of people and help them during times of duress and hardship whether for better or for worse.

For instance, the story of the elephant brings joy to the grandfather and to Natalia in the midst of the beginning of the war. The war has begun to erode their relationship, and put up barriers in between them. Although the city where...

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