Why is the book called "Black Swan Green"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I must admit that I am a huge fan of David Mitchell's fiction, and this book, which is a curiously poignant study of adolescence with all of its pain and trials and tribulations, is no exception. Overtly, the title can be justified by the name of the sleepy Worcestershire village where the action of the novel is set. The thirteen chapters of this novel each focus on a separate story, but the setting is constant.

However, a joke that is repeated many times throughout the novel is the way that Black Swan Green does not actually have any swans. This draws our attention to the way in which fiction presents us with a certain image of something which can either be misleading or innaccurate. Just as the name of the village suggests that there are swans, the use of the village's name for the title of the novel likewise suggests that there is something misleading or something innaccurate about the novel itsef, or that what it actually is is different from what it overtly pretends to be. Perhaps we can relate this to Jason's struggle to find his voice as he tries to express himself, both literally, as he struggles with his stammer, and metaphorically, as he struggles to write poetry and fiction.

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