Book Reviews

The Night Circus: Thoughts on “Intersections” (Part 3)

the night circus
(Via Goodreads)

The Night Circus (2011)

By Erin Morgenstern

In the previous post, I talked about how this novel has a lack of direction in regards to the main storyline. Well I finally completed (with great struggle though) part three of The Night Circus. This section is titled “Intersections.” I felt that this part gave more substance to what is going on.

When Two Points Cross

The word, “intersection” is defined as a point where two lines meet or cross. In literature, it could imply when actions or moments intertwine or combine together. In this section, it seems that the subplots are finally being pulled together and forming into one main storyline. I can confidently say that “the challenge” is the problem or great dilemma for the protagonists. It is preventing Marco and Celia from being together, and also causing a great deal of harm to other people, who are unintentionally involved in the game. 

In this post, I will focus on the chapters that have the word, “intersection” in the chapter titles because it is in these sections that the story is unfolding and being pieced together. Yet before that, I will give you some background information about what is happening with the characters. Widget and Poppet propose that Bailey should runaway and join the circus with them, and Marco and Celia are trying to figure out a way to stop the challenge.

The first part is “Intersections I: The Drop of a Hat.” In that chapter, Marco goes into Isobel’s fortune-telling tent and confesses to Isobel that it is over between them, and that he is in love with Celia. When hearing this news, Isobel uncovers the hat box that is underneath the table and looks at the hat and a tarot card in the box. The hat seems to be the protecting charm that keeps balance within the circus. Yet out of jealously, Isobel tugs at the hat, which breaks the charm for only a moment. When she does that, Isobel hears Poppet screaming.

Now the second part is “Intersections II: Scarlet Furies and Red Destinies.” In this chapter, it is “All Hallows’ Eve.” Marco secretly keeps a close eye on Chandresh who is secretly following Mr. A.H. wandering around the circus. Some force causes Chandresh to throw a knife at Mr. A.H. but it magically hits the person right next to him—Herr Thiessen—the clockmaker, Celia’s friend, and also the enthusiast that writes about the circus to the masses.

I have noticed that the characters who have passed away are people who are somewhat involved in the circus’ development. Tara Burgess died in a train accident, right after discussing her suspicions about the circus to Mr. A.H. Herr Thiessen—a fan of the circus—knows a little more than he should about the circus because Celia informs him about the circus in her letters. Henceforth, one could assume that he died for knowing too much information, and his death serves as a warning to Celia. She should only care about winning the challenge and ignore any distractions and personal involvement with Marco.

How will these two sections relate to the big conclusion of the book, I am not sure but I am somewhat looking forward to it.

The Lovers

In this scene, we see a lot of relationship development between Marco and Celia. Although a lot of time passes by in the novel, I get the impression that their relationship escalated way too quickly. One moment they are meeting each other for the first time and the next, they are dancing and kissing.

Now, each chapter provides the time and place of when and where the events of that chapter are taking place. I thought that information would help me timeline Marco and Celia’s relationship, but it just made me more confused. Their relationship just seems so unrealistic. One could assume that it would take many more months or years for their relationship to develop. Yet, I had a hard time accepting the fact that many years passed and so much happened in their relationship because rather than getting a slow and steady timeline of relationship development, we get a bunch of random moments that “prove” they are passionately in love. Time going by so fast doesn’t make their love believable in the reader’s perspective.

Despite the unrealistic moments, my favorite scene is when Marco and Celia danced and kissed at Chandresh’s party. It was at that moment, Marco did not care about the challenge, and pursued his own desires. It is a very intimate scene of forbidden romance, and this scene is lovely to imagine in your head:

Without a word, Marco turns his back on his instructor. He walks out the door at the back of the room, not even noticing Isobel as he passes her in the hall, where she has been close enough to hear the argument.

He goes directly to the ballroom, making his way to the center of the dance floor. He takes Celia’s arm, spinning her away from Herr Thiessen.

Marco pulls her to him in an emerald embrace, so close that no distinction remains between where his suit ends and her gown begins.

To Celia, there is suddenly no one else in the room as he holds her in his arms.

But before she can vocalize her surprise, his lips close over hers and she is lost in wordless bliss.

-Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

Also by the end of part three,  it seems that Celia has stolen Marco’s book that profiles everyone involved in the circus and any news and happenings about the circus. I read the next chapter (which is in the next part) and it states that she steals the book because she is hoping to find a way for the circus to function without the challenge going on. I don’t think it is wise for Celia to steal Marco’s book. Marco may suspect that Celia is using him to try to get the upper hand and win the competition. I know that it is highly unlikely since they are “in love,” but it is a possibility. Yet it also begs the question, if you suspect a person for being untrustworthy, can you really call what you have, love? Trust is a huge importance in a relationship. Rather than trying to find a solution to their problem individually, I think Celia and Marco should figure out a solution together. It would make more sense to work together because as a couple, you should be willing to sacrifice and compromise for each other.

Last Thoughts on “Intersections”

Finally, the plot develops. I am not sure what Bailey’s purpose is in the story and why is he running away to join the circus, but hopefully, I will know his purpose in the next section. Furthermore, I believe I will see a final showdown of Marco and Celia going up against their fated destiny. (On a side note though, don’t you find it creepy that some of these characters such as Marco and Mr. A.H. don’t have shadows. It could possibly be due to an illusionary trick, but I find “a no-shadow” trait in a character, creepy. In the other stories I read, a person with no shadow means that they are a ghost, which is scary to comprehend in my opinion.)

Overall, since the story picked up pace, I’ll give it a 3.5. I am almost at the end! 😀

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