The question of explaining our meaning on earth has been present for centuries. People find ways to explain their existence through means such as religion or astrology. The Polish novel translated into English, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, tells the story of an elderly Polish woman as she battles the purposes of humanity and nature.
Throughout the novel, the author, Tokarczuk, employs long passages about astrology. While the passages are asking to be skimmed over or forgotten altogether, they contribute to a much larger argument Tokarczuk is making. First of all, Janina finds extreme comfort in astrology as a way to explain not only the universe, but individuals. She uses astrology as a way to convenience herself that the rest of society that does not share her same beliefs is crazy, and she is not. In the midst of her unethical and illegal actions, they reinforce that she is doing the right thing. Secondly, her astrology provides a framework for one of the novel’s largest questions of whether one should live to be a part of nature or conform to immoral societal norms. Janina strongly believes in the former, and Tokarczuk’s use of astrology as meaning bolsters this overarching tension in the novel.