The author uses symbolism that contributes to the success of the text

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The author uses symbolism that contributes to the success of the text

is Lamb by Bernard Mac Laverty

A novel in which the author uses symbolism that contributes to the

success of the text is “Lamb” by Bernard Mac Laverty. The author uses

many different symbols, including the pinball machine, fish, birds,

lamb and many more, to very effectively emphasise points he is trying

to make and hint at how the novel will end.

One of the first symbols used in the novel by the author is the symbol

of the bird. Brother Benedict is described like a bird alot. The line

“Benedict sat waiting with a bird like tilt of the head, sharp,

owl-like” gives a very vivid description of Benedict. It gives the

reader the impression that he is twitching like a bird, waiting on the

right moment to pounce, the words “before he pecked” continue this

idea. “A chicken eying a seed” is another line which continues the

idea of looking at his mark, waiting on the right moment before he

pounces. Birds also are made out to be nasty creatures who bring

sadness and pain. The author refers to the “depressing screech of

gulls”, which means exactly what it says, that the noise made by the

gulls are depressing.

Another symbol which is used throughout the novel is the symbol of the

pinball machine. “His dread of the steel ball thumping hollowly into

the depths of the pinball machine, the inevitability of it despite the

frantic flicking of the small rubber wings unable to reach” is a line

which shows that no matter how hard you try in the end you will always

fail. “Funnelled towards the act he had decided upon” also shows this

inevitability, that even though he had chosen to kill the boy for his

own good, there was no longer any other options, ...

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The myth of Daedalus and Icarus turns out to be highly symbolic in the

novel. It is significant because in the myth Daedalus is responsible

for his son’s death while trying to save him from the captivity the

king held them in, while in the novel Michael is responsible for

Owen’s death, and he is saving him from a life of deprivation and

suffering that he would live when they were finally found by the


In conclusion, Bernard Mac Laverty’s use of these symbols is very

effective as it reveals alot about how the novel will end, by

providing hints to what is going to happen and the reasons for the

event. The way the author uses symbolism to hint at what will become

is very effective as alot of it is not really noticeable until a

second read of the novel. All in all the authors use of symbolism

contributes highly to the success of the novel.
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