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Symbolism In Margaret Laurence's A Bird In The House

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At first glance, the opening scene to Margaret Laurence's A Bird in the House provides descriptive insight into the home Vanessa will view as her safe haven. However, through analysis of Laurence’s use of imagery, symbolism, and foreshadowing, the Brick House is not as impenetrable of a shelter as it had been known to represent. The Brick House is, in itself, full of underlying meaning. The family members are the only ones to call it that, to the rest of the town it is known as “the old Connor place”, “plain” and “sparsely windowed”. This starkly contrasts to the imagery Vanessa creates by likening the house to a “fortress” created by her Grandfather as a “massive monument”. The view of the house from the outside and the meaning it holds to Vanessa, an inside member, both provide insight to how…show more content…
“A bird in the house . . . had swung itself up to the secret sanctuaries” and looked upon the garden silently. Margaret Laurence introduces this bird as an intruder, disrupting the “secret sanctuaries.” of the family. A bird in the house is a message of death to come, and here it sits upon the roof of their house, out of reach for the spruce’s giant wings. By placing the bird so high up, yet incredibly close to the family, it can be taken as a warning. The bird only appears in this single line throughout the excerpt, acting as an observer but also as a predator waiting for a chance to strike, providing an unsettling truth to death being out of our control. Though many efforts may be made to create a sanctuary, there are things out of one's control and when power is exercised, there will be forces fighting back. The opening sections of the novel A Bird in the House demonstrate this clearly by how Margarets Laurence's’ use of literary devices can be interpreted. Though a family is toughened to outside forces, the inside can come apart easily when weakened, which is the truth to the
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