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Elevating The Power Of A Novel Through Symbolic Objects

2130 words - 9 pages

When reading a piece of literature, a reader often finds many symbolic objects speckled throughout the text. Some of these symbolic objects may be quite obvious to distinguish, while others may be tucked away deep within the text. Whether the symbolism of the object is apparent to the reader or not the author places them in the story to elevate the power of the text. In Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, there are a plethora of symbolic objects that hold a deeper meaning then what appears on the surface. Capote and Plath two diverse authors, fill their novels with a plethora of dynamic objects, such as a bird cage, a bell jar, a mirror, an unnamed cat and a diamond, in order to develop more powerful novels.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, one of Truman Capote’s most renowned works of literature, takes an ordinary bird cage and turns it into a symbol which showcases ones fear of living a life in confinement. The birdcage is first introduced as a significant symbol during the narrator and Holly’s walk through Central Park. The narrator says: “Afterwards, avoiding the zoo, we giggled, ran, sang along the paths toward the old wooden boathouse, now gone” (Capote 54). They avoid the zoo, as Holly can't "bear to see anything in a cage." Holly refuses to walk past the zoo since she cannot bear to gaze upon the cages enthralled with animals. She is anxious about being restrained by relationships or even a stable lifestyle, which the cage reminds her of. She wishes to live her life as a free woman, without being held down by a commitment to a person or place. Along their walk, the narrator shows Holly a birdcage he has been admiring in an antique store window: “It was near the antique shop with the palace of a bird cage in its window, so I took her there to see it, and she enjoyed the point, its fantasy: “But still, it’s a cage” (55). Even though it is being used as decoration in the store window, Holly still sees the bird cage as a way to hold a living thing captive. She expresses much dislike for the bird cage, leaving the narrator puzzled as to why she would find fault with such a beautiful object. Much to the narrator’s surprise during a Christmas celebration Holly tells him: “Look in the bedroom. There’s a present for you” (Capote 59). The present that Holly has waiting for the narrator is the bird cage. Despite her dislike for the birdcage and its sense of confinement, Holly presents the narrator with the bird cage under one condition; she doesn’t want the narrator to ever hold an animal captive in it. The narrator returns the birdcage to Holly because it costs too much saying, “The money! Three hundred and fifty dollars” (59).Since the bird cage is a symbol of confinement for Holly, she gets rid of it out, not wanting it lingering in her apartment. She gets rid of the bird cage due to the fear it gives her of being trapped like she was at Doc’s house in Tulip, Texas. Doc, the husband Holly never talks about, is believed...

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