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In Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy what is the significance of the whales?

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I think a quote from the book can answer it pretty well. Then he knew [what the whale was telling him]. Then he knew. The knowledge in his father’s eyes and in the whales’ eyes. The world turns and the world spins, the tide runs in and the tide runs out, and there is nothing in the world more beautiful and more wonderful in all of its evolved forms than two souls who look at each other straight on. And there is nothing more woeful and soul-saddening than when they are parted. Turner knew that everything in the world rejoices in the touch, and everything in the world laments in the losing. And he had lost Malaga. (215-216)
So they are telling him of wonder of love and pain of loss. The whales represent beauty, but he learns of loss as well. The whales are creatures of "deep knowing." They come from the deep of the sea at the most difficult times.
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