Darkness and the black bat are both two symbols that Atkinson uses to represent Ursula’s changing attitude towards death. The phrase “darkness falls” ends nearly every chapter in which Ursula dies, and she describes being taken by the black bat in several chapters as well. Whereas early in the novel, the darkness and the bat are “the enemy,” or the things to fear, over time Ursula becomes less afraid of them. By the end of the novel, in the few chapters in which she chooses to commit suicide, Ursula welcomes the black bat, is wrapped in its wings, and embraces it, echoing how Ursula ultimately comes to see how death can be an important sacrifice. These two symbols are in direct contrast with the lightness of snow, which comes to signify life and rebirth in the novel.
Darkness and the Black Bat Quotes in Life After Life
She held tightly on to Frieda and soon they were both wrapped in the velvet wings of the black bat and this life was already unreal and gone.
She had never chosen death over life before and as she was leaving she knew something had cracked and broken and the order of things had changed.
Become such as you are, having learned what that is. She knew what that was now. She was Ursula Beresford Todd and she was a witness.
She opened her arms to the black bat and they flew to each other, embracing in the air like long-lost souls. This is love, Ursula thought. And the practice of it makes it perfect.