Here are their physical details:
They’re pink (if you can see them—and only the person with the Thinker token can see them).
They are repelled by gravity.
They “inhabit . . . and move through solid substances, just as humans can move only through gaseous or liquid environments” (314).
So why are they here? Based on the evidence, Maisie hypothesizes that they
“. . . [take] over all the human body’s functions. After people are possessed by the aliens, it looks like they mostly spend their time eating and seeking out adrenaline rushes.”
“Seriously?” said Luther.
“They’re here to enjoy physical bodies,” said Wilder.
“I think if the ship isn’t nearby to suck them back in, the ghostmen would keep floating right out of Earth’s atmosphere into space’s vacuum, where they’d be helpless. That’s where we want them.” (324)
But sending that third to Outer Darkness isn’t just a fun Easter egg. Some more serious and immediate questions come out of it. For instance, when Maisie speaks with one of the ghosts through its human avatar, it poses an interesting—and brutally stated—question:
“So . . . you’re hijacking humans in order to eat apples.”
“You’re destroying people, taking away lives.”
“Now, now, all we take is your shell.”
“But what if the flesh of our bodies is the extent of our matter? What if you take our bodies and there’s nothing left?”
He seemed to have never considered the possibility. “Why would such a creature matter at all?” (309)
This basic theo/philosophical question haunts Maisie through the rest of the novel. When she risks her death, she simply does not know if there will be anything left of her should she fail:
I was too conscious of my mortality, I guess. . . . Who knew if there was a part of me that never ended, like the ghostmen themselves? I’d . . . found [outer] space. Maybe there wasn’t anything else to find. (372)
Later, plummeting back to Earth and certain that she will die:
My stomach hurt . . . my head pained to cracking, my muscles so tense I wondered if my skin would split open. . . . All I knew was fear and panic.
. . . Even battling terror like being strangled in slow motion, I wanted to experience it. This was life, these few minutes were all that I had left. I didn’t want to die halfway down. I wanted every single second I had left. (379)
Maisie does not know if she will “be sucked up into a God-touched place . . . . Or . . . simply cease to be” and that feels like “a catastrophic hole in [her] education” (380), but she has decided that regardless, this moment of mortality matters and that every single second she has left is worthy of her full attention and shall give her experience—which shall be for her good—whether she lasts another ten seconds or the fulness of eternity.
Of course, Mormon cosmology posits that ETERNITY is the accurate description, but we are a practical people who feel that the temporal world is important and thus we should experience each ten seconds with the same vigor with which we imagine eventual rewards.
Something like Maisie Brown.
====Shannon Hales :: Dangerous====
Just how dangerous is Shannon Hale? (intro)
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Just how dangerous is Shannon Hale? (post)
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A note on Mormon cosmology in Shannon Hale’s Dangerous
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