Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 295

There are many themes in Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. Some of these themes include: love, power of women, and family.

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Throughout the novel, love is explored. There is romantic love, love based on friendship and love between family members. One example of romantic love is shown between Vianne and her husband Antoine. Vianne is required to care for her sister after their mother dies and their father cannot care for them. She quickly finds Antoine who supports her through this time. She depends on Antoine and struggles when he goes to war. Another example of Romantic love is the love between Isabelle and Gaetan. When the two meet, they are immediately attracted to one another. Due to difficult circumstances, this love does not flourish. Gaetan proves his love for Isabelle by naming his daughter after her.

Hannah discusses the power of women throughout the novel as well. The two main characters are strong women who rebel against the German army, Vianne rebels in a more subtle way by rescuing Jewish children by forging identity papers. She also takes in the son of her friend when her friend is sent to a concentration camp. This is an example of a love based on friendship. Isabelle rebels more openly by joining the French Resistance. Both of these women show how strong women were during this time despite not fighting on the battlefields.

Family is another important theme in this novel. Both Vianne and Isabelle fight to keep their family together, not always an easy task. Vianne keeps secrets from her husband and her son in order to save her family. Vianne also names her son after her estranged father who risked his own life to protect Isabelle. This is also an example of love between family members.

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