The Tiger's Wife

Role of Superstition in "The Tiger’s Wife" College

Fear is one of the strongest emotions experienced by humans, so much so that it plays a drastic role in influencing the actions of men and women. This concept is one that appears frequently throughout Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife, a riveting tale of the many odd occurrences that surround what is assumed to be the Balkan war. Fear cultivates superstition, manifesting itself in Obreht’s novel through the many characters’ fears of the unknown and of death. Throughout The Tiger’s Wife, superstition plays different roles for each individual, arising from strong emotional reactions that are usually rooted in fear.

Superstition stems from a combination of ignorance and fear, and this amalgamation often invokes a powerful certainty in people regarding things they could not possibly know. Obreht illustrates the ease with which people come to rely on superstition frequently throughout the novel: “When confounded by the extremes of life – whether good or bad – people would turn first to superstition to find meaning, to stitch together unconnected events in order to understand what was happening” (Obreht 312). This phenomenon appears regularly throughout Obreht’s tale through parables such as that of the deathless man, rumors of the tiger...

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