The Summer of The Falcon
Every popular novel must have an interesting story, suitable conflicts, and a theme. In the novel The Summer Of the Falcon, the author Jean Craighead George parallels the maturation of the main character with the teaching of a bird to fly and take commands. June becomes mature and grows form childhood to adulthood, In the end of the story, June is not a child anymore. Neither is the falcon. It has fully grown and has decided to live independently, without any of June's support.
The main theme of the novel is maturity, freedom and realizing the cycle of nature. Of these three, maturity is the most important. When the story begins, June is just a little child, and she hates to do any housework. For example, she dislikes dressing up, cooking, and other chores. We can see that in P.19
"June was still rebellious, "Why can't woman be trained
to do something else? Beds and dishes are so horribly
But finally, by training the falcon, we can see the comparison between June and Zander(the falcon). First Zander is just a little pet for June. With the training by June, and the mistakes that he fall into the river, he grows matured has been well trained. At the same time, June also has been trained by her mother and, watching the things happen to Zander, June becomes mature too. She helped her mother by carrying suitcases and boxes and walked carefully up the stairs to her room, holding her head high as she had been taught in the dance class.
Everybody is supposed to have their own freedom. Without freedom, one will not live like a human being but like a toy. But, too much freedom for a ungrown child will cause danger rather than help him grow, because he will not know how to handle the freedom and how to control himself, so he will do the things that may harm other people and himself. In the novel, when June's mother and father are out for a journey, she gets freedom for the first time. Due to her lack of experience and her age, she doesn't realize that will be dangerous. She foolishly goes swimming during thunderstorm which may hurt her. Similarly Zander - the falcon who is owned by June, represents the growing June. First Zander always hurts himself by his own freedom (symbolizing June's freedom) and his lack of training (Symbolizing experience) and at the end, after training and his own experiences, he changes to a strong male falcon (symbolizing the change from childhood to adulthood of June). Freedom hurts Zander no more. Instead, freedom helps him to mature and life is more meaningful.
The realization which comes form the growing stages has been shown in the novel too. From the falcon, insects and her family, June has discovered the process of growing, which has taught her an important lesson. We can see this in the following quote:
"Early the next morning she went back to the sparrow hawk's nest to see if she could find out more about what Charles meant. If she understood, she might walk up to John Doyle when school started and explain to him why falcons can be trained to hunt and sparrows can't. She would be so impressed by her insight that he would take her flying on ice skates down the old canal, or across the ballroom floor in some white-flowered home to which they and both been invited."(P.128, George)
Previously, her mother had told June about growing. She said:
"Growing up is a long process of needing things and not needing things, like mothers and fathers and birds."
Then finally, one day, you find you can make a big decision happily with convection. That's what we call maturity. Someday, may be in a summer or two you'll come together in one piece - your head and your feelings." (P.110, George)
That speech precisely fits the meaning of growing up and is prove also by the research of the growing of the bird. In P.128, June writes a letter to ask Charles and Don about the growing of animals, and Charles tells her to go to the bird's nest to have a research about the birds. June knows and realizes the life cycle process of a bird. She sees how the mother looks after her children, and they just fly away after they after they have feathers. From those facts, June learned the cycle of nature.
Maturity, freedom and growing up are the morals in The Summer of The Falcon, and by the falcon symbolizing June, we can see how a child becomes mature from the experience, and the relationship of freedom and mature - without maturity the freedom will harm people. And, from the novel, we can see the growing of animals, and humans form the comparison between man and animal.
Source: Essay UK - http://www.essay.uk.com/coursework/the-summer-of-the-falcon.php