THE LESSONS OF SYMBOLISM BY UPDIKE
At first sight, nothing can ruin the bliss of a traditional family meeting. Though an attentive reader will feel the atmosphere of something oppressive happening around at once. One detail will catch his/ her eye: I’m talking about the houses that overlook the meadow. These houses with their wide dead windows first appear at the very beginning of the story and then, introduce the final dark thought of the main character. A very popular literary device such as “ring composition” is nicely used in the text. At first, it’s just houses that surround the meadow on three sides, the houses Uncle Jesse avoids looking at. But the tension is getting more visible by the end of the story. Dark houses are opposed to family happiness and family values. They intrude in the photograph, they stare and it cannot be held back. It’s always hard to live happily under the gaze of those who are not supposed to be a part of your life. The houses are agressive and their repeated message “Sell” haunts the main character. Even at night the houses’ whisper does not leave Uncle Jesse.These houses is not even a mere detail, it’s a symbol. And I strongly believe that these are usually symbols that set the general tone of any story.