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Symbolism in the Short Story - Essay Example

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In Jean Rhys’s short story “I Used to Live Here Once”, the symbolism plays a powerful role in directing the progress. Since it is such a brief work, the impact of every symbol is all the greater. The story appears to be about a girl who returns to a house she knew in the past and attempts to connect with two children who do not acknowledge her presence…
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Symbolism in the Short Story

Download file to see previous pages... For instance, a substantial part of the story is spent on describing the “stepping stones” in the river and the girl’s passage of it. Stepping stones and rivers have traditionally been symbolic of the journey of life. Rivers are also important as boundaries and crossing them often signifies passage from one world to another. The crossing of river Jordan into the Promised Land, for instance, is a crucial element of the Bible (Ferber, 2007, p. 170). The stepping stones, that are at first harder to cross and easy afterwards are also symbolic of the passage of life. This is the first hint that the speaker may be coming from a different land, or even a different plane of existence. The emphasis on the “glassy” sky is yet another symbolic clue. Glassy has connotations of an unnatural or artificial material, as it is man-made. It can also signify a certain deadness of the subject, an absence of expression as in the phrase “glassy eyes”. The absence of life, and the distance she feels from manmade objects further intensify the suggestion that the speaker is already dead. The narrator also mentions several objects of the landscape that she finds missing, suggesting a rather long absence. There was now a road that had replaced the pave and the pine tree she knew was gone. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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