Last Unicorn Analysis

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The Last Unicorn is a fairy tale in every sense of the word, with a richly painted canvas full of broad, profound strokes about people and growth and heroes and happily-ever-afters, but also filled in with countless carefully depicted details, little flourishes that accent the main aspects of the novel with grace and sensitivity. Short digressions from the primary plot, such as an exchange between a blue jay who sees the unicorn on her journey and his unhappy wife, or the unicorn and her party seeing a princess calling for her in a forest, each enrich the story with their own individual comment on the theme, and slow the pace down so it feels a little bit more like life – a lot of amusing nothings with the odd profound occurrence spattered amongst it all. Throughout the novel, the mortal characters struggle to find their own fairy tale within the sometimes cruel reality of life. In contrast, the unicorn, who is a fairy tale, unintentionally stumbles upon a taste of mortal life that will stay with her forever. The balance between fantasy and reality is shown with the situation of the main characters at the novel’s close. When Molly and Schmendrick, two people to whom life has been unkind, ride off into the “sweet, wicked, wrinkled world”[1], they get their own sort of fairy tale. On the other hand, the unicorn and the noble prince, traditional fairy tale figures forever separated, are far from a happily ever after. At the book’s opening, the reader meets the unicorn and learns of her idyllic life in a lilac wood. Although she appears perfectly happy, there is an idle complacency about her life that is somehow unsatisfying. At the end of the book, the unicorn is haunted by her mortal feelings, by a broken heart that a unicorn was never meant to have. Her emotions have expanded to include longing and regret, but in this way, they have deepened her capacity for
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