In the concluding paragraphs of Escape from Spiderhead, there is recurring imagery of birds, and I found it significant and interesting. It begins while Jeff is dying, and the birds “were manifesting as the earth’s bright-colored nerve endings, the sun’s descent urging them into activity, filling them individually with life nectar, the life nectar then being passed into the world, out of each beak, in the form of that bird’s distinctive song, which was, in turn, an accident of beak shape, throat shape, breast configuration, brain chemistry: some birds blessed in voice, others cursed; some squawking, others rapturous,” (80). As the birds release their “life nectar” into the world, Jeff chooses to die, and, “From across the woods, as if by common accord, birds left their trees and darted upward. I joined them, flew among them, they did not recognize me as something apart from them, and I was happy, so happy, because for the first time in years, and forevermore, I had not killed, and never would,” (81).
Towards the beginning of this extended imagery, the birds were described as delivering their “life nectar” through “bright-colored nerve endings” into the world. This implies that every bird is an integral part of the world that makes it what it is, because each releases a bright, nectar-filled nerve from its beak, producing a unique, distinct mark on the world visible to all. This is the case for Jeff, and one of the greatest impacts he made on the world, or one of the primary components of his nectar was that he had murdered someone. This was viewed by others as one of his defining characteristics, and as a result, due to shame and regret and not wanting to fortify this image by being complicit in Rachel’s murder, he wanted to dissociate himself from his nectar, or his life as a whole. Consequently, he chose to die, and from there, joined the flock of darkened, lifeless birds who had released the entirety of their nectar into the world and having none left to supply, flew away from earth, and with it, their mark on it. This was his cause for great happiness at the end of the story, because he realized that he would no longer be associated with, nor would he be able to fuel his murderous nectar that he abandoned on earth. Jeff opted for death via Darkenfloxx™, meaning he chose to become part of the flocks of darkened birds that no longer reside on earth. This is my interpretation of the potential source of the name Darkenfloxx™.
2 thoughts on “Darkenfloxx™=Darkened Flocks?”
The idea of “darkened flocks” made me think of crows, which are usually symbolic of bad luck and death. The story doesn’t mention crows specifically but I think it could definitely fit as a part of your idea.
I think this is a super cool play on words theory. All of the other drugs were named after something related to the effect, so I think it would make sense that it has something to do with that experience of death and pointing out that bird coorolation really gives me a new perspective on the whole bird theme in the story!!