Skellig | Study Guide

David Almond

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Skellig Study Guide." Course Hero. 5 Nov. 2018. Web. 8 Aug. 2022. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, November 5). Skellig Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "Skellig Study Guide." November 5, 2018. Accessed August 8, 2022.


Course Hero, "Skellig Study Guide," November 5, 2018, accessed August 8, 2022,

Skellig | Quotes


I thought he was dead. I couldn't have been more wrong.


At the very beginning of the novel, Michael believes Skellig is dead. This, along with Dr. Death and Ernie Myers's toilet, foreshadows that a confrontation with death is imminent for Michael.


Drawing makes you look at the world more closely ... to see ... more clearly.


Mina's dialogue helps establish that she is very different from Michael's public school friends, Leakey and Coot. Here, she explains to Michael why it is important to use more than just his eyes and ears to explore the world. Mina coming into Michael's life at just the right moment changes him profoundly.


They say that shoulder blades are where your wings were, when you were an angel.


Mum says this in answer to Michael's question about the purpose of shoulder blades, the same question he asks his science teacher, Rasputin. Skellig could either be a creature of evolution or an angelic being. However, by the end of the novel it is clear that he is a little bit of both.


The mind needs to be opened out into the world, not shuttered down inside a gloomy classroom.


This idea represents Mina's philosophy of learning. It is reflected in William Blake's poetry as well.


Truth and dreams are always getting muddled.


Mina and Michael's dreams intersect. The blur of truth and dreams in the novel also supports the idea that there is a spiritual aspect to life interwoven with physical reality.


They're wild things, of course. Killers, savages. They're wonderful.


Mina is describing the qualities of owlets while they are eating live prey. They are mysterious, beautiful, and savage—much like Skellig himself.


Anything seems possible at night when the rest of the world has gone to sleep.


Mina is excited about exploring the world at night, and finds it natural to visit Skellig and the owls long after midnight.


Sometimes we just have to accept there are things we can't know.


With this statement Mina is helping Michael to accept the fact that his sister's illness simply happened; there is no answer to the question "Why?"


I woke up and knew he was gone. ... When you love somebody, you know these things.


Not only are Michael and Mina able to tap into each other's dreams, but Mum and Dad are also shown to have strong intuition. In the 1990s when Skellig was written and published, Jungian theories of the collective unconscious as well as universal patterns and interrelatedness were popular.


I wanted to be all alone in an attic like Skellig, with just the owls and the moonlight and an oblivious heart.


Michael is overwhelmed by his own emotions and wishes he could be as detached as Skellig in this moment.


Spring came when she was released and made her slow way up to the world again.


Michael reflects on the story of Persephone struggling up from the underworld and sees it as a metaphor for his sister's struggle to stay alive and regain her health.


Every pip could become a tree, and every tree could bear another hundred fruits ... And so on to infinity.

Mina's mom

Mina's mom says this as she is cutting apart a pomegranate. The seeds are symbolic of the story of Persephone, but they are also a symbol for the infinite.


And spirit jumping in and jumping out but never seen.


Mina sees spirit as housed within the human body, along with bones, muscles, and nerves.


Something like you, something like a beast, something like a bird, something like an angel.


Skellig, in one of his rare speeches, describes himself as part beast, part bird, part angel, and part human, confirming all at once the different impressions his character has made upon the reader. Skellig is perhaps a new creature formed through adaptation, but he is still otherworldly and spiritual.


We thought a little longer, and in the end we simply called her Joy.


Michael suggests naming the baby Persephone, but they finally choose a name that is short, sweet, and strong. The baby's name, Joy, is the very last word in the novel, suggesting that all the struggle life requires is ultimately worth all the happiness life can bring.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Skellig? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!