Border Crossing Symbolism

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Border Crossing is a novel by Pat Barker which was first published in 2001. It follows Danny Miller and Tom Seymour, a child criminal and child psychologist. The James Bulger case was in 1993, and psychology, especially criminal psychology, was becoming a more prevalent science. Border Crossing explores Danny Miller, who committed murder as a child. It uses symbolism to reveal how he tries to control his life using power and his abnormal outlook on death. A recurring symbol is fire, which is most meaningful to Danny as he uses it to feel like he is in control of his life by exercising his power. In page 180 and 181 he says that he felt “Marvelous”, “Fantastic, “Powerful” and “The opposite of being hung up on a peg”. The last quote refers…show more content…
In the opening chapter of the book when Lauren and Tom are talking about their issues Tom is seen as “striding ahead, eager to escape, hand thrust deep into the pockets of a black coat”. Lauren is described as “wearing a beige coat that faded into gravel…talking, always talking. Though the red lips move, no sound comes out”. Tom is disconnected from the relationship and wishes for it to go away. His body language makes him seem like he doesn’t care about the conversation Lauren is still trying to have – he is ahead of her with his hands in his coat. Lauren is ignored by Tom and seems unimportant at that moment, fading into the gravel as Tom is not listening to her. After Tom saves Danny he intends to “crawl back into his own life” but instead neglects his problems with Lauren and pays more attention to Danny. Symbolism and contrasting characterization are used to show Danny’s morals and how he uses power to feel like he is in control. Rabbits are used as symbols of death to explore ideas that are not immediately obvious. As stated before the book came out after the James Bulger case, and it can give some insight as to what might drive a child to commit murder. It shows that these issues are complex and that the social workers also have their own lives and

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