Kiwi Bigtree, World Hero. The young narrator Ava Bigtree warns the reader from the beginning that her family was headed for a fall. Read it Forward Read it first. A Haunted, Alluring Phantasmagoria”. Bildungsroman , Magic Realism , Southern Gothic. The way the individual members of the family dealt with the death of Hilola Bigtree from ovarian cancer was the starting point from which the other problems faced by the family members grew.

Views Read Edit View history. Kiwi Goes to Night School. Her death from cancer puts the family into serious financial and emotional straights. Like the Dredgeman, several of the Bigtrees have revelations. This book will not leave my mind. The New York Times.

Ava and the Bird Man travel into the remote wilderness.

There are biblical references throughout the book, especially in the World of Darkness sections. At that point, Ava and the Bird Man, a strange man who had come to the island uninvited to take care of buzzards, were alone on the island.

The strange and mysterious Everglades form the essential element for Ava’s journey to the underworld. He xwamplandia studious and academically gifted, but his isolated and self-guided education has left him unprepared for mainland life.

She possesses a rather kind and passive personality, and develops a passionate fascination with ghosts after she finds “The Spiritist’s Telegraph” in a waterlogged library boat.

Swamplandia! Summary & Study Guide

After they finally arrived on the island Ava believed was the underworld the Bird Man raped her. The Southern Gothic aspect is the many references to ghosts and the disturbing character of The Bird Man.


The Beginning of the End. The middle sibling of the Bigtree children; Ava’s older, Kiwi’s younger sister. This page was last edited on 26 Decemberat This book will not leave my mind. She manages to escape and hide in an alligator cave, but has to wrestle one of the creatures to get free.

Karen Russell has often said that her intention, right from the title of her book, was to reflect the high spirits of the novel. Once they were together, the family members realized that they would have to give up their island home and move to the mainland in order to make a living.

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Swamplandia! Her sister Osceola, obsessed with the dying and the dead, ends up running away from home to chase and “marry” a ghost. Ten Thousand Islands is not merely alligator country, it is the uncanny river of grass, the haunting gloom in the ever-changing mangrove tunnels, peat bogs, endless sawgrass prairies, abandoned stilt houses and shell mounds left by primordial Native Americans.

What does it tell us about his character? As the family plans for the future, they realize that they will have to abandon Swamplandia!

View the Study Pack. Have you read that story?

On page 36, Chief introduces his theory of Carnival Darwinism, which he thought would save Swamplandia! Why do you think Russell chose this quote?


The family patriarch, Sawtooth Bigtree, has recently been confined to a floating nursing home with dementia and his daughter-in-law, Hilola Bigtree, has died of cancer, leaving behind a husband and three teenage children. Inshe received the 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation.

Osceola begins to hold seances with her younger sister Ava attempt to contact their dead mother. This study guide contains the following sections: When he rescues a teenage girl, Kiwi becomes a local hero and, as a result, The World of Darkness sends him to train as an airplane pilot.

Learn More About Swamplandia!

Swamplandia! – Chapter One: The Beginning of the End Summary & Analysis

Click on a plot summxry to find similar books! A critic of the New York Times summarizes Russell’s unique style by stating that she has “honed her elegant verbal wit and fused it with the nightmare logic that makes Swamplandia!

Kiwi Goes to Night School. Retrieved from ” https: All-Storywhen Russell was 24 years old.

Swamplandia! – Chapter One: The Beginning of the End Summary & Analysis

Ava Goes to the Underworld. Best part of story, including ending: She survives because of her unique fitness in this strange environment. A Haunted, Alluring Phantasmagoria”.