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Carol, in the end, instructing John is a metaphor for the fact that teachers, whether tenured or not, are not exempt from learning and continuing to grow. They have not cornered the market on who can or is allowed to teach whom.
The title of the play is a metaphor for the Norwegian folk song of the same name. Where a utopia is created by a man but fails because the dense forest made it hard for people to settle there. In the same way the density of John's beliefs makes it hard for Carol to settle into his idea of perfect.
John's loathing of academia yet still pursuing the brass ring of tenure at the university is a metaphor for living a life against one's true nature. That he lies to himself and expects everyone else to follow his lie blindly.
Carol talks about the group that she represents. It isn't explicitly stated who the group is, but it becomes a metaphor for women who are exploited by a patriarchal culture that continues to cross boundaries based on what they deem to be acceptable. Not what is actually acceptable.
John has written a book which he has everyone in his class read. It is the book that he will not allow to be banned in a request from Carol and her group. His book is a metaphor for his chauvinistic behavior and ideas continuing to penetrate the minds he is feeding. And, that his ideas are becoming widespread to the point that Carol demands the book be banned.
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