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Written by Micola Magdalena
Metaphor for wealth
In the first chapter, Florens talks a great deal about shoes. She mentions shoes and how she did not enjoyed walking barefoot since she was a young child. The shoes are used here as a metaphor for wealth since it becomes clear that only the rich could afford to buy new shoes. The rest had to resolve to wearing the shoes thrown away by their masters or by someone much wealthier than them.
Metaphor for acceptance
Lina thinks about the time she spent with the Blacksmith and how she once saw two owls looking at them. The Blacksmith claimed that the owls were a sign of their ancestors approving of their life. In other instances, the presence of while animals is seen as a good omen by the characters in the book and are considered as being a metaphor for acceptance by a higher being.
Metaphor for pain
In the sixth chapter, Rebekka asks Lina to give her a mirror so she could look into it and see her face. When Rebekka sees how much the illness disfigured her, she refuses to give the mirror back. The disfigured face is used here as a metaphor for pain. Just like illness disfigured Rebekka’s actual face, the pain disfigured her soul and affected the way she perceived the outside world.
Love and an illness
Florens is the youngest servant in Rebekka's house and when she arrives, Lina gets attached to her almost immediately. In comparison with the other women in the house, Sorrow is the only one who is not affected by the evilness in the world and who is still somehow pure, capable of loving and of harboring the hope that the future could be better. Lina on the other hand saw her entire family die and got also involved in an abusive relationship, with a man who would constantly beat her. Because of this, when she saw that Florens, the girl she grew to love was getting involved with a man who could be dangerous for her, she tried to protect the young girl and stop her from making what was in her opinion a mistake. For Lina, love was not something positive, something that brought her happiness. Instead, for her, love was like an illness that consumed her and made her feel weak, something that made her feel worthless and made her lose her purpose in life. This comparison shows just how much we can be affected by a bad relationship and just how for many, love is not a positive thing.
Lovemaking and dancing
Sorrow is another character who, just like Lina, was taken advantage of by the men in her life. Sorrow lived all her life on a boat and when everyone she knew died, she found herself alone in a world that she could not understand. Some men took advantage of Sorrow’s innocence and thus she found herself pregnant twice in a short period of time. When Sorrow saw Florens and the Blacksmith make love, she compared their lovemaking with a beautiful dance during which both participants found satisfaction. The comparison is different from Lina’s, who compared love to an illness, and it shows that in comparison with Lina, Sorrow was still optimistic about the future and she could still see the beauty of love, even though she never experienced it herself.
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