It’s in the title really- more elaborate and some rather metaphorically and emotionally ‘deep’ interpretations…
~The Analysis (13)~
- •”The rumours…wove in and out of the student’s lockers like the most persistent of snakes” 156– reference to ‘snakes’ could simply be referring to the evil connotations of the animal, emphasising on a basic level the evil nature of the rumours compared to the innocence of Lindsey (and supposedly her father)- links to genre of fantasy (good vs evil). Snakes also have reference to Christianity in the Garden of Eden, from which the connotations of evilness and chaos are evoked:
The interplay between the serpent and Eve in the Garden of Eden counts among the best-known examples of snakes as symbols of temptation. In this example, the snake’s cunning entices Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, unleashing sin and chaos into the world. However, this imagery is not limited to only the Christian Bible. Snakes in Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures also symbolized chaos.
- Snakes also refer to a sense of threat, hence it could be symbolising the threat these rumours pose to Lindsey’s otherwise calm exterior (managed through her emotionless outlook)- and hence the temptation to do what she feels she shouldn’t (link to garden of Eden) and loose control. Lockers also symbolise secrecy, as if the threats are threatening Lindsey’s secrecy, the fact that she really is not fine at all.
- “using my father’s debasement as a varnish of cool they could coat themselves with” – links to idea throughout novel of wanting to be someone other than that who you are (e.g. Abigail wants to be free of motherhood, Len wants to be free of responsibilities & guilt)- Clarissa and Brian want to be cooler than they are accepted to be. Verb “Varnish” links to desire to conceal what is not desirable.
- “everyone I’d known was growing up”- links to novel’s genre as Bildungsroman, sad truth that she will never grow up.
- 157 “Buckley went…to borrow in the empty cave of my father’s heart”- caves connote mystery, safety, sanctuary- otherwise a cave symbolises something cold and unfeeling, juxtaposing the feeling one would expect a man to have who has children- could suggest how Jack also has the desire to be someone other than the warm and feeling father he is supped to
- 158 “Which she washed. Which she folded. Which she ironed…” repetition of ‘which she’ emphasises the monotony of the mother’s life. Seeks to explain to the reader why she despises it so much, desires freedom. Elaborated on by sentence following it saturated with connectives, both complex and a compound sentence- elongates the everlasting, tedious impression of life for Abigail. Makes reader empathise with her rather than hate her when she thinks of Len three lines below.
- “How odd he might look to an outsider or to my mother” 158 – suggestion of linking Abigail to an outsider, almost defining her as an outsider by placing the noun ‘mother’ after outsider- possible to trace Jack’s thought process: from outsider, to his wife
- “they wanted him to shut all signs of his grief away, place it in a file somewhere and tuck it in a drawer, so that no one would be asked to open it again” 159- irony of making an abstract noun seem tangible (goes against the definition), emphasises extent of Jack’s grief- it had almost compounded into a physical object
- 160 “How to swim back to her…she was pulling and pulling away” – recurring motif of the sea, and the movement of sides- ‘pulling and pulling away’ makes Abigail seem like an anchored boat- wanting to drift away but not being able to- tugging on the string that ties her to the ground. As if their whole world was underwater- suffocating.
- 160 “If my father fell, only a dog and a boy who loved him would see” – we see the other side to Jack, less of the masculine, family supporting figure and more of the vulnerable, scared man he really is.
- 161 (another rendition of Abigail’s monotonous life) “the towels my mother bleached, the towels my mother hung…the towels she folded”- sense of insignificance about the mother’s life- it is one string of folding towels
- 162 “Abigail should be doing this” (with regards to fetching things for Lindsey helping her shave her legs”- Stereotypical and unjustified
- 163 “A fine trickle of blood beginning to spread into the white foam” contrast between blood red and white links to the description of Susie’s skin ‘that had never seen the sun’ and the blood that spilled from her with Harvey’s knife- blood is wholly symbolic
- 165 “my corpse cut up, my blank rotting eyes” – gruesome imagery, gothic tone within the novel
- “The anchor houses…because the anchored the neighbourhood to an original road” 168/9- sense of belonging, sense of a base, a foundation on which to build lives
- “do you know how alone I have always felt…my mother asked her mother”- the juxtaposition between the formality of the nomination “mother” and the hint of personal revelation in the subject- shows that things are changing, they are growing just like everyone else.
- “She had never understood places like this- places where her own child had chosen to live” (With reference to living in houses ‘identical in structure’ to another- emphasises how Lynn views being different as a way of life, the prospect of being similar to another person is unrecognisable to her, in-understandable. 170
- “I’m not involved with anyone. Her mind flew like a bird from one rooftop to the next”- The simile symbolises freedom, like with Len she had she freedom she always desired outside of her role in motherhood- she can finally be free of responsibility and judgement. Proven by “The pragmatic, prim mistress that my mother had always been had gone”
- “Fireflies gathering in a swarm above his front flower beds” 172 (regarding the signs Lynn witnessed to tell her Harvey was a killer- Fireflies symbolize guidance most obvious sign
- “The girl was being burned alive, but first, there had been her body, clean and whole” 173 – strange that Abigail refers to this as a “wonderful dream”- as if a death doesn’t remove the fact that they existed initially- hence perhaps this is Abigail coming to accept the death of her daughter- to accept what she was before, not what she was not afterwards.