Possession Imagery

The Morning After

At the end of the novel, Maud and Roland wake up together the morning after the storm. The sights, sounds and smells of the damaged earth are vividly described, but the moment is hopeful rather than mournful. The imagery of a fresh start emerging from destruction is important, because Maud and Roland's quest has ended and they have solved the mystery together. They have now let go of their obsession with exploring the past and are ready to contemplate a future together.

Roland and Val's Garden

At the start of the novel, Val and Roland live in a small and unpleasant flat; the only charming feature is the garden, which they are not allowed to enter. The beauty of the garden is described in vivid imagery which heightens the sense of unfulfilled and frustrated desire both characters feel towards it. The imagery of the garden is important because it shows how symbolically charged this space is: it represents Val and Roland's desire for better lives and a more fulfilling relationship, but also their inability to access these things.

The Ash Factory

The Ash factory is a joking term for the research office where Blackadder and his team work on their projects related to Ash. The sights, sounds, and smells of the dark, musty, and isolated space are vividly evoked to show that this is a somewhat stifling space which contributes to the scholars who work there becoming cut off from the realities of life around them. Roland's desire to pursue his adventurous quest might be tied to his need to break free from the Ash factory, and conduct a new kind of scholarship that will ask different types of questions and be able to do more groundbreaking work.

Maud's Bathroom

When Roland first stays at Maud's apartment, he is struck by her bathroom, and describes it using imagery of glass, coldness, hardness, and water tones. This imagery reflects his perception of Mud at this point: he finds her beautiful, admirable, and impenetrable. The imagery of the bathroom is important because it highlights the sense that Roland has been admitted into an intimate and private space, but finds Maud more mysterious, not less. The bath and water imagery in this scene is also important because it provides a thematic link to the Melusine legend (the subject of Christabel's most significant poem). In this legend, a man spies on his wife while she bathes, and realizes she has been concealing a fish tail. Likewise, Roland wonders if there might be secrets about Maud hidden in the intimate space where she bathes.