Let The Great World Spin Character Analysis

Decent Essays
McCann’s novel, Let the Great World Spin, takes place almost entirely in New York city with a widely disparate cast of characters, but despite its seeming chaos, elements at the beginning and end of the book keep it centralized. The book begins in mid-1950s Dublin, Ireland, in a small coastal house, much earlier than the main section of the novel. At the conclusion of the novel, the scene is again set, for a short while, at this small Dublin home, but much later than the central section of the novel. This stylistic choice on McCann’s part makes only perfect sense, as it illustrates the overall theme of the novel, that illustrated by the title, and brings the plot full circle, or more accurately, full spin, in following the story of Ciaran,…show more content…
Her grandmother, Tillie, spends almost fifty pages narrating her regrets about motherhood and her misfortunes, continually mentioning “my baby’s baby girls” (216). Of course, this baby Jaslyn isn’t really a developed character yet, but she is the knot tying the stories of Tillie, Clair, Gloria, Jazzlyn, Corrigan, Lara, and Ciaran together, along with many others. Being the knot, it makes sense that she take a prominent role summing up the novel at the end, both in terms of tying up loose ends and bringing the book full spin. Firstly, when discussing Ireland, it is made clear that Corrigan, in the form of ashes, and Ciaran both returned to their home, even to the same small house in Ciaran’s case, “He had sold it once and had to buy it back for over a million dollars” (342). This brings that section of the plot full circle, but as a character, Jaslyn has her own story to tell, and so brings a new character into play before tying up loose ends with Claire at the conclusion of the novel, “she stands behind a tall man in jeans and a battered leather jacket” (326). She comes to know this man, continuing the perpetual arc of “The world spinning” (349). It’s clear that McCann made the deliberate choice to end the novel with both new and old characters, old settings, and conclusions and new beginnings to emphasise that the everything does come full circle, but keeps on going as
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