Night had truly fallen. Arin wondered if she would lift her eyes, but wasn’t worried he would be seen in the shadows.
He knew the law of such things: people in bright places cannot see in the dark.
The Winner’s Curse, Marie Rutkoski
There’s always something to truly and deeply appreciate about writing. I like to get down to the pieces that put it all together. In this case, I’ve decided to start a post series involving a short conversation about various quotes that I’m especially fond of from the books I’ve read. Believe me, I have a large number of them.
This particular quote is from The Winner’s Curse, by Marie Rutkoski. I think there’s something especially important to highlight in this quote that, in its own way, is relevant even to our world. What is important to understand about this moment in the book is the idea of privilege and power. Arin is Kestrel’s slave.
In this sense, the brightly lit place is the position of privilege and power–something that a number of people experience based on race, gender, sexuality, and income in our own world. And there is a clear parallel that the dark and shadows have toward the difficulties of the oppressed. While I’m not exactly saying that people are slaves, as Arin is in the story, I think it’s really poignant to point out the similarities of this quote.
Those who experience privilege and power, especially if they do throughout their entire lives, are in a brightly lit place that blinds them to what other people face just as Kestrel is blinded to the horrors and disturbing experiences that many slaves in her world are subjected to.
And then, I suppose, if we must be literal: it is near impossible to see in the dark when your eyes are still adjusted to a bright light.
This quote just really speaks to me.