One of the most peculiar things about human nature is this: we are addicted to safety.
We love watching the psychopath’s shadow creep toward the shower curtain, raise the knife, then stab, stab, stab…blood down the drain. All while we munch on over-butterd popcorn from the relative “safety” of our sectional sofa.
Of course, we can’t forget how EVERY. SINGLE. horror movie has some dumb character who says: “Don’t worry, we’re perfectly safe her.” Thankfully, that character usually gets eaten/stabbed/shot to death so he can’t procreate his stupidity to the next generation. Side note: if you should find yourself in a situation where someone says this very thing…RUN. RUN FAST…away from said person.
At any moment, especially if our subconscious has been particularly active, we can change the channel, turn off the TV, go somewhere, do something else. The power to control the 4th wall in our lives, the illusion of safe and secure helps us survive.
But it also becomes our greatest prison.
In Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, monsters chase the peculiars trying to suck out their powers. Terrifying for any child and further compounded by his or her special abilities. To protect the peculiars, loops were formed, chasms in time and space, to keep the children safe. A place the monsters can’t find, can’t enter, can’t frighten all of Miss Peregrine’s beloved students and children. Too bad, they can never leave. The need for safety has become their jailer and prison house.
After re-reading several of my favorite passages, I’m not sure what to make of Miss Peregrine. Is she simply protecting the children, benevolent and kind? Is she after their power but too afraid to become like those wraith suckers? Is she so terrified to fight back that building the loop/prison was a better option?
On my first reading of the book, I thought of the loop world as a kindness. Protecting children who may or may not be able to protect themselves. But now, I’m not so sure that Miss Peregrine is such a kindly old bird. I don’t think she is truly evil, but I do think that her fear of the monsters clouds how strong she is. Safety, or rather its fleeting illusion like hummingbird wings, will ultimately lead to the destruction of her safe world and loop.