Is Xanther the one who needs saving?
Xanther’s connection to the natural world is so amazingly strong, especially when compared to the other characters in her chapters. Even Anwar asserts that “Xanther’s natural alliances to the natural world are no mystery” (735). She feels a particular connection to small, minuscule creatures that most people would not notice or give much care to.
On an occasion that Anwar remembers, Xanther names a spider Adelaide and attempts to pet this tiny black insect. Most people would either kill the spider or somehow get it outside and away from themselves but Xanther affectionately names it and touches it. She is invested in a well-being of a spider which, most likely, would not return the affection.
In a memory of Xanther’s, she finds an injured hummingbird and cups it in her hand moments before it has a seizure and dies. The connection of this small object having a seizure to Xanther is uncanny. Although she could not save this hummingbird as she would have liked, the fact that she was even able to find it, she somehow hears this creature, and give it some care before it died highlights her extraordinary connection with nature.
The most significant moment of nature and Xanther is her connection with the kitten. She is not only able to find the kitten from a great distance away, with an incomprehensible and almost superhuman ability, but she is able to revive the kitten from [near] death as well. While she searches for the kitten in the storm she gets cut up to the point where she is bleeding and her clothes are ripped. However, when she is checked out, all of her injuries are minor if even there at all. Has nature protected her during this mission to find the kitten?
Perhaps these vulnerable animals make Xanther feel strong and able to carry on because she has the possible power of saving these animals or, at least, the power to make things better for them. Normally she is the small creature who everyone thinks needs saving so her feelings toward these animals may be because she projects herself onto these creatures.
Xanther sees the significance of a life no matter how small or different. She claims that the kitten makes her feel as if the world is answerable, which is something amazing since the Xanther the reader has seen is always overwhelmed by a flood of questions. Her sense of connected tranquility with animals, a relationship which we do not see between her and the rest of society, portrays Xanther almost like a greater being with otherwordly, almost magical, powers and understandings. No one else seems to have this amazing capacity to comprehend the natural world.