107 pages 3 hours read

Anthony Doerr

All the Light We Cannot See

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2014

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Character Analysis

Marie-Laure LeBlanc

Marie-Laure LeBlanc is one of the protagonists of the novel. Age 16 during the siege of Saint-Malo in August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc has been blind since age 6. Her father, Daniel, a genius locksmith at the Museum of Natural History in Paris, raises her by himself. He encourages Marie-Laure to navigate the world without fear, despite her blindness. He teaches her to read Braille, which opens a new, imaginary world to her. Daniel is the chief influence in Marie-Laure’s life, even after his arrest and disappearance during the war.

Other influences in Marie-Laure’s life include her great-uncle Etienne, who escapes occupied France with her through imaginative play and reading books such as Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle together. Though he encourages learning, and gives Marie-Laure her treasured copies of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, perhaps the greatest influence of all on Marie-Laure’s character and outlook is Madame Manec. Madame Manec teaches Marie-Laure to live as much as she can, for as long as she can.

Marie-Laure takes Madame’s advice. She has a successful career, a daughter, a grandson, and as happy a life as she can. Marie-Laure’s life is testament to the fact that a person can endure great hardship and live a satisfying life, even if they never completely escape the scars of the past.

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By Anthony Doerr