All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See One (1934): Take Us Home Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Growing up, Marie-Laure loves to solve the puzzles her father (Daniel) gives her on her birthdays. Each puzzle is a beautifully carved wooden object—often a box, or a toy house. Each year, her father keeps track of how long it takes Marie-Laure to solve the puzzle and find the treat he’s left inside the box (usually chocolate).
We remember that in the Prologue Marie-Laure opens a small puzzle box and finds a stone inside it. We’re starting to put things together: the stone might be the Sea of Flames, and Marie-Laure probably knows to open the box because of her father’s birthday games. Daniel and Marie-Laure’s world is immediately portrayed as one of small, lovely, and cleverly-made objects—beautiful and fragile things that might not survive the brutal forces of history.
Themes
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon
One day, Marie-Laure’s father presents her with a beautiful model of Paris. He instructs her to study the model carefully, and she does so for months. Then, he takes Marie-Laure to an unfamiliar part of the city, spins her around, and tells her to lead them home. Marie-Laure is terrified that she’ll lose her way, but her father encourages her to remember the model he made her. Her father whispers encouragement to her, but ultimately Marie-Laure cannot find her way home.
The model of the city is a way for Marie-Laure to “see” Paris without actually being able to see. In the absence of perfect information (i.e., the inability to see where she’s going), Marie-Laure has to depend upon other forms of knowledge to navigate her way around. This helps us understand Marie-Laure’s fondness for science—science is, after all, a way for people to understand the universe, and to rationalize the chaotic.
Themes
Interconnectedness and Separation Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Science and “Ways of Seeing” Theme Icon