This article is an excerpt from the Shortform summary of "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens. Shortform has the world's best summaries of books you should be reading.
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Are you looking for beautiful Where the Crawdads Sing quotes? What do the quotes from Where the Crawdads Sing represent?
These Where the Crawdads Sing quotes are just a few favorites from the bestselling novel. In the book, main character Kya grew up alone after being abandoned by her family. These Where the Crawdads Sing quotes capture her connection to nature and the marsh where she lives, as well as some of her beliefs about the world and human connection.
“Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land who caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”
This is one of the Where the Crawdads Sing quotes that appears early in the book. Her first night alone in the shack was a trying one for six-year-old Kya. The kitchen, once lively with voices and warm from the wood stove, was stark and cold when she went to find something to eat. She heated up leftover grits and waited for Pa to come home.
When it got late, she crawled onto her mattress on the floor of the screened-in porch and tried to sleep. At first, the night scared her, and she woke thinking she heard footsteps. But soon, the familiar sounds of the marsh life lulled her to sleep.
Weeks then months passed, and each morning, Kya still woke hoping to find Ma making breakfast. Pa stayed out of the house more and more, staying away for a week or more at a time. Without money or food, Kya ate Crisco slathered on soda crackers for nourishment. With no one around to love her, Kya turned to the land—the fields and lagoons of the marsh― for comfort. The land wouldn’t leave her, and she would never leave it. There are several other quotes from Where the Crawdads Sing that discuss Kya and the marsh. Can you think of others?
She knew the years of isolation had altered her behavior until she was different from others, but it wasn’t her fault she’d been alone. Most of what she knew, she’d learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would.”
This is one of the Where the Crawdads Sing quotes that talks about Kya and Tate’s relationship. Kya and Tate settled into a routine. They ate breakfast every morning, then explored the estuaries, with Tate performing his duties for the lab and Kya collecting specimens for more books. At night, they drifted in her boat and swam naked in the moonlight.
Kya and Tate were inseparable. They’d tried to conceive a child, but it never happened. As her relationship grew on solid ground, so did Kya’s understanding of connection. She saw that human love was more than just mating rituals, but she didn’t regret growing up in a world dictated by the laws of nature. She was connected to the land in a way no one else could understand. The land had raised her, and it was as much a fabric of her life as anything humans could provide.
“His dad had told him many times that the definition of a real man is one who cries without shame, reads poetry with his heart, feels opera in his soul, and does what’s necessary to defend a woman.”
Tate lived in town with his father, Scupper, who operated The Cherry Pie, a red shrimping boat. Tate’s mother and sister had died in a car accident in a nearby town a few years back, and since then, father and son lived mostly the same routine. Scupper had a love of opera, and each evening after docking his boat in Barkley Cove’s marina, he and Tate would listen to opera records while cleaning it.
The night after Tate saw Kya, he and Scupper finished cleaning the boat and went home for dinner. Tate told his father about school, saying he didn’t much care for the poetry section they were studying in English. His father told Tate not to dismiss poetry. It made you feel something, and there was nothing wrong with a man feeling things. Scupper told Tate real men weren’t afraid to show emotion, could find beauty in poetry and opera, and would always stand up for a woman in need.
Scupper recited a poem Tate’s mother had loved. It was about a young man meeting his love on a lake and hiding her from death in the trees. Tate thought of Kya and how scared and alone she seemed out in the marsh. His dad was right. The poem had made him feel something. Think about this quote with other Where the Crawdads Sing quotes about Tate, and how it helps explain his relationship with Kya.
“She could read anything now, he said, and once you can read anything you can learn everything. It was up to her. “Nobody’s come close to filling their brains,” he said. “We’re all like giraffes not using their necks to reach the higher leaves.”
Learning to read was one of the major moments of Kya’s life. This is one of the Where the Crawdads Sing quotes that talks about her newfound love of reading, and how she used it to further her education.
For the next few weeks, Tate taught Kya how to read sitting on a log near the beach. He brought old grammar books from school and worked with her on the alphabet. She learned to write each letter and make their sounds. Slowly and patiently (Tate was always so patient), she was able to form words and sound others out.
When she was finally able to read a whole sentence by herself, Kya beamed. Not only could she now read, but she’d never known that words could be put together to create meaning. The way she lit up made something inside Tate light up, as well.
“Female fireflies draw in strange males with dishonest signals and eat them; mantis females devour their own mates. Female insects, Kya thought, know how to deal with their lovers.”
Quotes from Where the Crawdads Sing often revolve around the natural world. The first night, Kya sat outside listening for any disturbance in the brush. Satisfied that she was alone, she went inside and surveyed her body. Her legs, face, and arms were bruised and scratched, and her left eye was swollen shut. Her knees were bloody and enlarged. Kya cried, feeling the shame of having acted so promiscuously with Chase when they were together. Inside, she felt her actions had led to her current state.
Something about her bruised body made her understand for the first time what Ma’s life with Pa must have been like. Kya vowed she would never live in fear of a man’s abuse again. She went back to the shack, where she would stay until her injuries healed. She didn’t want anyone to see her discolored face. This is one of the quotes from Where the Crawdads Sing that explains the true nature of Kya and Chase’s relationship.
These Where the Crawdads Sing quotes certainly do not make a complete list. Delia Owens’ enchanting book is beautifully written, with many quotable passages dealing with life, nature, and the way we treat one another. Think about these quotes from Where the Crawdad Sing in the context of nature and how characters relate to it.
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Here's what you'll find in our full Where the Crawdads Sing summary :
- How Kya Clark's abandonment as a child affected her through her entire life
- How Kya discovered love despite steep obstacles
- The murder trial that embroiled Kya's town, and the ultimate truth behind the murder