54 pages 1 hour read

Kenneth Oppel


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2004

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Important Quotes

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“I felt no fear […] It was not bravery on my part, simply a fact of nature, for I was born in the air, and so it seemed the most natural place in the world to me.”

(Chapter 1, Page 19)

Matt’s framework of his lack of fear in the air alludes to the novel’s title and his status as having been “airborn.” For Matt, this generates confidence in his abilities while airborne while barring him from recognizing the role he has played in developing his own skill.

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“There now, we’re almost aboard, and Doc Halliday will take a look at you and get you all sorted out.”

(Chapter 1, Page 23)

The Aurora’s doctor, Doc Halliday, alludes to Doc Holliday, friend to legendary lawman Wyatt Earp. This inclusion of a detail that is not quite historically accurate cements Airborn’s alternate history status, presenting a world that is both the same and different from the one in which readers live.

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“I never dreamed of [my father] when I was landlocked, only when I was aboard the Aurora.”

(Chapter 2, Page 32)

Matt’s dreams throughout the novel correlate to his anxieties, especially his anxiety about getting back up in the air. This parallels the way his employment aboard the Aurora is a byproduct of his grief over the loss of his father. His anxiety about leaving the ship relates to his fears of forgetting his father or leaving him behind.