“Quiet Please,” a short story from Bender’s The Girl in the Flammable Skirt, morphs an ordinary, quite popular, library mural into a symbol bursting with distraught emotions and memories of abuse. It is the mural’s exquisite detail of a particular fairy that is missing a mouth, which brings a deeper meaning to the story. “One of the fairies is missing a mouth. It has burned off from the glare of the sunlight, and she is starring at her fairy friends with a purple-eyed look of muteness” (Bender 59). The fairy symbolizes the librarian who has a strong desire for muteness in her own life, a muteness she connects to her deceased father. As the sunlight burned off the fairy’s mouth, making her mute, the librarian’s fathers death has caused a muteness in her own life, a muteness which she is accustomed to due to events in her past. Early on Bender acknowledges that the librarian herself doesn’t like to look at the mural. “ The librarian does not like to see this, and looks down to survey the population of her library instead” (Bender 59)....
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...he windows, and they did not think of leaving” ( 89).
All in all, both Bender and Carver have created great works of fiction that use symbolic objects to further develop a character and elevate the story with a sense of emotional enlightenment. Through a plethora of symbolic objects such as the library mural, the hunchback, and the birthday cake, characters were able to find some type of emotional remorse and find a deeper meaning to the stories they tell. Symbolic objects are imperative facets of any work of literature and with careful analysis can tell an emotionally charging story with deeply elevated messages and meanings.
Bender, Aimee. The Girl in the Flammable Skirt. New York: Anchor Books, 1999. Print.
Carver, Raymond. Cathedral. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1989. Print.
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