What scene in Heidi Durrow's The Girl Who Fell From the Sky can be considered a turning point, and what elements of the scene are significant?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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One scene that can be considered the turning point in Heidi Durrow's novel The Girl Who Fell From the Sky is the moment on the Ferris wheel when Brick takes Rachel to the amusement park towards the end of the book.

Rachel has clearly been in a wild and agitated state all that day; her face even looks flushed and she is sweating as if she is running a high fever. On the Ferris wheel, she feels an urge to stand up to somehow relieve pressure in her ear. Brick allows her to stand up since the ride is coming to a close and the people in the car before them are about to be unloaded; however, she stumbles as the wheel comes to a stop and nearly falls. The fall would not have been life threatening, but Brick understands the value of catching her, as he says to himself, "And it didn't matter how far the fall could have been. It mattered only that it didn't happen. Not this time." (p. 257)

However, being caught opens up Rachel's floodgate of emotions and she relays to him everything that happened on that terrible day her whole family fell from the top of an apartment building. Rachel comes to understand that her mother jumped because she felt overwhelmed by the racial prejudices she was encountering in Chicago for the first time in her life. Since Rachel's mother was black while her father is white, Rachel and her siblings were bi-racial, which could leave them with feelings of having no sense belonging and even more abuse than would be suffered if they were just black. Nella was unable to cope with the fear that her children could be abused, so she took the only protective route she was able to think of--suicide.

The moment on the Ferris wheel also gives Brick the opportunity to share with Rachel knowledge he has about her father Roger. He explains to Rachel that her father left after the death of her first brother Charles because he felt he couldn't be a good father.

Hence, Rachel's moment to open up to Brick and learn about her father serves as a turning point because it gave her an opportunity to forgive her mother and understand her father, to make peace with herself and her world.

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