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In the story "Peaches," the peaches take on a significance beyond themselves, appearing with greater frequency after it becomes evident that the mother is committing indiscretions with the son of their landlord. Peaches are associated with him early in the story, but the narrator remembers their number and overwhelming aroma as the story goes on, the rotting smell paralleling the rotting of her moral fabric.
Shadows in the Periphery
Multiple times throughout "Peaches," the narrator muses upon his fear of the unknown surrounding him. This fear is evident through various imagery: at the beginning, he remembers watching the shadows in the trees alongside the road, terrified of the foxes that might be lurking there. As the story progresses, he remembers his mother telling him a story of their relative who drowned herself after being falsely accused of theft in a nunnery. The major takeaway of this story for the narrator was the shadowy and terrifying background of his extended family for his life, like an indistinct backdrop in a shadow play. This shadow imagery emphasizes the narrator's inability to grasp vague memories and view the entire picture.
The night in the important memory in "Peaches" is described as being in winter, and this important element characterizes much of the description in the story. The narrator remembers his mother wrapping the shawl around him to keep out the chill. This imagery of the cold plays into the theme of isolation throughout the story, as well as emotional frigidity. The winter imagery thus affects the entire story with its language.
The imagery of moonlight is prevalent in "Peaches;" the notable memory occurred on a cold winter night with the moonlight shining down on the lonely couple walking down the deserted path. This moonlight connects this image with another story, one his mother told him, about their young relative who drowned herself on a moonlit night because of a false accusation impugning her honor. The moonlight reflects the cold, unsympathetic view a third-party observer would take in both scenarios as well as isolation and darkness.
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