One of the toughest things about growing up in an alcoholic household is dealing with uncertainty, the effects of which long outlast childhood. The characters, Silvia and Cosmo, illustrate this point very well as they are both operating from a place of fear and that fear comes from growing up with uncertainty. Their responses to this fear manifest in very different ways. Cosmo craves certainty because he didn’t have it growing up, and as an adult, he takes no risks. Silvia craves uncertainty because it is familiar to her and this is revealed in her continually moving to new places. Because they juxtapose each other in this way, they also mirror each other, making each others shortcomings very visible.
Silvia’s shortcoming is a focal point of Olive Branches Don’t Grow On Trees as she struggles to settle down and stop moving from place to place. She learns that a physical place will not bring her happiness and that this is something that she must find within herself. In Discovery of an Eagle, Cosmo realizes that he has been sleepwalking through his life and that his complacency has made him dead inside. His journey is one of awakening and coming out of himself, whereas Silvia’s journey is one of slowing down and going within herself to find happiness and peace.