Symbolic Analysis of American Stories

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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There were many symbolic representations in the “Hills Like White Elephants.” The conversation between the American and Jig playout at a crossroad between Barcelona and Madrid. The train station was a brilliant symbol for the crossroads in which the couple are at. The American wants her to have an abortion, and Jig is uncertain about whether or not to do it. Jig mentions the scenery, “Those look like white elephants,” as a symbol of the belly of an expectant woman. The hills are bright from the sun representing happiness, and the rest of the country is brown and dry representing no life.

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The table during the conversation between the American and Jig represents the decision that has to be made about abortion. Jig is on one side and doesn’t require the abortion while the American is on the other side wanting her to go through with it. The table shows this couple has a wedge between them and they both cannot agree.

Pride represents an influential driving force in “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allen Poe. Fortunato falls victim to his pride and ultimately forfeits his life over it. Montresor is blinded by his wounded pride and hate towards Fortunato. “You are rich, respected, admired, beloved; you are happy; as once I was” being the ideal example of the jealously Montresor has towards Fortunato. No one provokes me with impunity is the motto of the Montresor family and bears light to the reason behind Montresor’s evil plot to kill Fortunato. The Gold foot crushing a snake while the snake bites the heel is the coat of arms of the Montresor family and can symbolize the relationship between these two pride driven men. The Gold foot represents Fortunato and all his wealth and power. The snake being crushed represents Montresor feeling inferior to Fortunato but also wounding him because he has plotted his revenge against Fortunato. The coat of arms can be seen as ambiguous because it equally represents a passage from the bible and Montresor ends the story by saying “For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them.” This represents Montresor repenting his sins before he dies.

“The ” by Toni Bambara tells a story of Miss Moore trying to convey to Sylvia and the other children in the neighborhood the unequal equality they are facing. Miss Moore demonstrates this by taking the children to a famous toy store in the heart of New York City. The famous toy store is full of very expensive toys, and Miss Moore is trying to open the children’s eyes to a world outside of their poor uneducated neighborhood. Sylvia observes the diverse classes of people on the way to the toy store, “ One lady in a fur coat, hot as it is. White folks crazy.” Sylvia can see how the Rich lives lavishly. Sylvia sees a toy clown for $35 and is upset that a toy could cost as much as her parents rent. Miss Moore broaches the topic of equality at the end of the story by evoking them to think by stating “Imagine for a minute what kind of society it is in which people can spend on a toy what it would cost to feed a family of six or seven.” I believe Sylvia understands what Miss Moore is trying to state and needs to think it through on their walk back home. 8. . “Araby” by James Joyce is about an adolescent boy who is in love with Mangan’s sister.

The narrator makes several references to light and dark in this short story. The story begins, “When the short days of winter came dusk fell before we had well eaten our dinners.” The children would play in the dark till their bodies “glowed.” I believe this is the example of the children’s innocence before puberty. The narrator is setting the tone of darkness as we learn the story of Araby and his progression as a character into enlightenment. The narrator continues using light and dark to describe his feelings for Mangan’s sister. She is referenced many times as the light. “Her figure defined by the light from the half-opened door.” Araby utilizes light to describe his intense feelings of lust for Mandan’s sister. Araby is thrust back into the dark with the realization that he will never have Mandan’s sister,” Glazing up into the darkness I saw myself a creature driven and derided by vanity.” This statement concludes Arabys feelings that he is not good enough for Mangan’s sister.

“Good People” by David Wallace represents a story of two college students discussing the subject of abortion. The reader only hears Lane Deans internal struggle throughout the story. The couple is devoutly religious. Lane Dean believes he has betrayed God for wanting an abortion and sinning by getting Sheri pregnant. The conversation is set at a park where they both are looking at a downed tree across from a lake. The downed tree represents the abortion, and the roots sticking out of the ground are the link between god and Lane Dean with the couple the decision to go through with it. Lane Dean had a “moment of grace” where he knew that they would keep the baby. “a part of the lake further flashed with sun- the water up close wasn’t black now.” This is the moment we hear from Sheri, and she unfreezes Lane Dean by telling him that she is keeping the baby. Lane Dean realizes that maybe he does love Sheri and just hasn’t realized what love genuinely is. “For it was just now he felt her two strong soft hands on his, to turn him.”

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Symbolic Analysis of American Stories. (2021, Mar 27). Retrieved from