Elevating the Power of a Novel through Symbolic Objects Essay

Elevating the Power of a Novel through Symbolic Objects Essay

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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 ...


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...ll Jar have created great works of literature using diverse characters and everyday objects as a way to give a greater power to their novels. Both Capote and Plath have allowed their readers to gaze into the world of Holly and Esther, two very diverse characters, who surprisingly share many qualities with contemporary American women. These two works of literature, written years ago seem to foreshadow what society has become today. When examining the ordinary objects Capote and Plath instill as symbols, readers are left to ponder about their own personal objects which may hold a great deal of power in their lives.






Works Cited

Capote, Truman. Breakfast at Tiffany’s. New York: Vintage Books, 1993. Print.
Plath, Sylvia. The Bell Jar. New York: Harper Perennial, 1996. Print.
Collins, Williams. “Define Bell Jar.” Dictionary.com. William Collins & Sons, 2009. Web.

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