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SYMBOLISM / MOTIFS / METAPHORS / IMAGERY / SYMBOLS
Other elements that are present in this novel are symbols and metaphors. Symbols are the use of some unrelated idea to represent something else. Metaphors are direct comparisons made between characters and ideas. There are many symbols and metaphors used by the author such as:
1. The September group was the name the girls’ mothers gave themselves when they went to Gilda’s and all of them were pregnant. It comes to symbolize who the girls think they are even after their mothers no longer are close friends.
2. The Traveling Pants become a talisman, or a symbol, of the magic of their friendship and how having the love and support of each other evolves from them. Each of them wears them and learns something very valuable about what Carmen calls “painful life transitions.”
3. Tucker Rowe symbolizes “the” boy that every girl desires to have.
4. Tibby was surprised to realize that a lot of what Bailey said about Tucker was true, but she didn’t want to admit it. In this sense, he symbolizes how our fantasies can come crushing down.
5. For Bee and her friends, sleeping under the stars is a metaphor for the vastness and awesome aspect of life.
6. Brian McBrian said other people lived outside the screen while he lived inside the computer. In this sense, the computer becomes a metaphor for life - he look deeper into the meaning of life while others see only the surface.
7. Tibby wondered if Margaret had ever watched a movie with another person. In this sense, the movie theater symbolizes loneliness.
8. Carmen picked up a huge rock and heaved it into the creek. The rock, for a few minutes, obstructed the creek’s flow, but then the water seemed to adjust itself by tucking the rock a little deeper into the creek bed. In this sense, the rock and the creek is a metaphor for compromise - we all have to compromise in order to attain happiness.
9. Tibby realized she might only see snapshots instead of movies, like Bailey. This is a metaphor for looking at life superficially instead of more deeply.
10. After Carmen threw herself on Tibby, she was like a lost child in a department store who had finally found her mother. This is a metaphor for the comfort that these friends provide each other.
11. She was filled with guilt - it wove around her like the cat she had never had, swiping its tail against her cheek, wanting her when she least wanted it. The thought of father’s face as she had last seen it through the window she had broken came back into her mind unbidden. He had been more than surprised. He simply had been unable to process what he saw, because he had always thought Carmen were better than that. So as she were calling to the cat named guilt, she said, “All right, come on up, “and let it curl on her stomach for a long stay. The cat’s behavior represents how guilt fills Carmen’s heart.
12. She knew that Bridget usually sailed along just fine, but once in awhile she crashed on the rocks. In this sense, Bridget’s behavior is compared to a ship that wrecks on the rocks.
13. Bee thought the two of them - she and Eric - were rewinding the clock to that point when he was the coach and she was the irresponsible camper. In this sense, time is a metaphor for the desire to change bad choices made in the past.
14. Carmen noticed that the broken window had not been fixed and the thought made her feel ashamed and happy at the same time. The broken window symbolizes the broken aspect of the relationship with her father and the possibility of repairing it.
15. Dragon Master symbolizes Brian’s world where happiness is based on the small pleasures and not the overall sense of life.
16. Watching Steel Magnolias symbolizes Tibby’s need to mourn, because the movie is also about a death and how a family deals with it.
17. Burying Mimi in the soft soil of Bailey’s grave symbolizes Tibby’s ability to go on and life in a big way like Bailey would want.Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version