Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 262
The Sheltering Sky is a novel with a number of themes available for you to pick up for your assignment, such as the death of innocence, the nature of control, fear, and the loss of meaning.
The structure of the story itself lends itself to these themes seeing how it starts with a fraying relationship between Port and Kit and ends with much of that relationship falling apart one way or another. Kit is the one who plans out the trip the couple has to Africa, mapping out every part of it in hopes of keeping the marriage together.
And yet, at the same time, he cheats on Kit frequently including during the trip. He doesn’t want to give up any kind of control over what he wants to do. But even so, he seems powerless to control his urges.
Kit faces a continual loss of innocence and control at the same time. It would aid in any paper about the themes of the book to compare and contrast Kit and Port in the way they approach their morality and ability to control events. Despite starting out as a man in control, for example, Port quickly loses it over his own body when he becomes ill.
Over and over again, Kit’s innocence is betrayed by the men she trusts, including Port but also the Sudanese man she meets after Port’s death who tricks, drugs, and imprisons her. In her case, losing innocence goes hand in hand with losing control and power. This is a connection that can be explored.