Dr. Sonika Sethi
Assistant Professor, English, S D College, Ambala Cantt, Haryana-134001
Title: Flight Behaviour
Author: Barbara Kingsolver
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Very few writers are capable of juxtaposing social concerns as serious as environment preservation into the very texture of their fictional world and then are able to do justice to it. Barbara Kingsolver’s numerous works based on her earnestness to relate to environmental issues include— The Lacuna, The Poisonwood bible, Prodigal Summer, Pigs in Heaven and Flight Behaviour. Flight Behaviour opens up the proverbial Pandora’s Box about concerns like Global Warming, Deforestation, floods washing away entire area, the exodus of various species of animals and insects in an attempt at self-preservation and the extinction of various species of flora and fauna. The novel begins with the indiscriminate and impulsive flight of the protagonist Dellarobia Turnbow, a young school drop-out, and mother of two seeking out an affair with a local line man. But her destiny has much more in store for her and has bigger and better plans for her. The miracle that she comes across on the top of the creek is profoundly amazing and life-changing. Her relationship with her husband, Cub; her mother-in-law, Hester; her two kids undergoes sea-change. Her infatuation and attraction towards Dr. Ovid Byron, the entomologist, who comes and stays with her family to study the sudden appearance of the King Monarch butterflies usually found on the mountain-side of Mexico, becomes the cause of Dellarobia’s transformation. Like a butterfly, she undergoes the process of metamorphosis and realizes her true potential and finds her true calling. Helping Dr. Byron in his lab to study the flight behaviour of the migrant butterflies makes Dellarobia realize that she is cut out for something more than being an ordinary housewife and mother. Once Dr. Byron shifts his lab and equipment from the Turnbow Farm, its Dellarobia’s turn to call quits to her commonplace life and strive for something more than ordinary. A dazzling transformation of the protagonist and a breath-taking revelation of the flight patterns of the fire-coloured Monarch butterflies is the high-point of the novel. The well-researched and well-worded plot of the novel is a magnificent union of the scientific world with the world of literature. Beautiful and colourful imagery of the butterflies and animals on the Appalachian farms adds to the picturesque quality of the novel. The vivid description of shearing of wool of the sheep and the lamb-bearing provides the reader not only visual delight but also an experience beyond words. Overall, the novel is an entertaining yet informative work of art, not to be missed.