The Night Circus

by

Erin Morgenstern

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Tara Burgess Character Analysis

Sisters and librarians who will only talk about their past when intoxicated, Tara and Lainie Burgess are original organizers of Le Cirque des Rêves, though their role in the project is unclear, beyond Chandresh Lefevre’s insistence that they are experts at “small details.” Neither sister is aware of the magic involved in the circus or of the competition between Celia and Marco; they are often suspicious, however, guessing that something mysterious is going on. When Tara Burgess realizes that she is not aging naturally, she attempts to speak with Ethan Barris about it, only to be sent to speak with the man in the gray suit, Mr. A.H. When this encounter ends in Tara’s death by apparent suicide in front of a train, Lainie becomes suspicious as well.

Tara Burgess Quotes in The Night Circus

The The Night Circus quotes below are all either spoken by Tara Burgess or refer to Tara Burgess. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Rivalry and Competition Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor edition of The Night Circus published in 2012.
Part 2: Illumination Quotes

“There is a great deal more going on than we are privy to, of that I’m quite sure. I tried to talk to Chandresh, but it was like we were speaking two different languages. I do not like sitting idly by when something clearly isn’t right.”

Related Characters: Tara Burgess (speaker), Chandresh Lefevre, Ethan Barris
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:

“We are fish in a bowl, dear. Very carefully monitored fish. Watched from all angles. If one of us floats to the top, it was not accidental. And if it was an accident, I worry that the watchers are not as careful as they should be.”

Related Characters: Tsukiko (speaker), Isobel Martin, Tara Burgess
Page Number: 246
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 3: Intersections Quotes

“If you ever need anything from me, I would like you to ask. I am tired of everyone keeping their secrets so well that they get other people killed. We are all involved in your game, and it seems we are not as easily repaired as teacups.”

Related Characters: Lainie Burgess (speaker), Celia Bowen, Tara Burgess
Page Number: 340
Explanation and Analysis:
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Tara Burgess Character Timeline in The Night Circus

The timeline below shows where the character Tara Burgess appears in The Night Circus. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Primordium
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
...of circus: there is Ethan Barris, who is an engineer and architect, as well as Tara and Lainie Burgess, who “do a little bit of everything” and will be indispensable for... (full context)
Part 2: Illumination
Time and Mortality Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
...he looks for Marco but cannot find him, and he bumps into the Burgess sisters, Tara and Lainie, instead. They watch the lighting of the bonfire, and when the clock strikes... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
...in love with Lainie Burgess, though she cannot tell if Lainie knows. Celia finds that Tara Burgess, with her haunted expression, reminds Celia of her own mother. (full context)
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Time and Mortality Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
Vienna, 1894: Tara Burgess comes to see Mr. Barris at his office in Vienna. When they greet each... (full context)
Rivalry and Competition Theme Icon
Time and Mortality Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
London, 1895: While Lainie is on an extended holiday in Italy, Tara picks up the card Mr. Barris gave her and goes to the Midland Grand Hotel.... (full context)
Rivalry and Competition Theme Icon
Time and Mortality Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
Mr. A.H. walks Tara to the station, suggesting that she find something to take her mind off of the... (full context)
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Time and Mortality Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
The news of Tara’s tragic death arrives from London, and everyone associated with the circus attends her funeral in... (full context)
Time and Mortality Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
Freedom and Agency Theme Icon
As Tsukiko and Isobel stand in the rain near the gravesite, Tsukiko asks Isobel how Tara died. Isobel heard that it was an accident, and that Tara was hit by a... (full context)
Rivalry and Competition Theme Icon
Magic and Illusion Theme Icon
Marco wishes he could protect the people outside the circus, like the late Tara Burgess, the way the bonfire protects the performers. Celia did not realize that the bonfire... (full context)
Part 3: Intersections
Love Theme Icon
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Freedom and Agency Theme Icon
...office from London to Vienna, and now to Basel. She asks him what he and Tara talked about when she came to visit him in Vienna before her death, and Mr.... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Freedom and Agency Theme Icon
...have a conversation about the circus, just like he didn’t want to have it with Tara. Lainie guesses that he knows what’s going on, and Mr. Barris admits that he does,... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Family, Community, and Belonging Theme Icon
Freedom and Agency Theme Icon
...After some small talk, Lainie launches in with her question, asking if Celia knows why Tara went to the Midland Grand Hotel in London. Celia says that she knows whom Tara... (full context)