Symbols in “A Sense of Shelter” Essay

In A Sense of Shelter by John Updike. assorted symbols are used to stress the overall subject of comfort and show the bit by bit cheerless temper. The writer uses bad conditions. a familiar desk. and a familiar school as symbolic objects within the narrative to expose these thoughts. Updike strategically places these symbols throughout the narrative. stressing the importance of these elements.

Weather is one of the histories used to put the temper of the narrative. A Sense of Shelter opens up with a elaborate history of the conditions. The storyteller sets the scene with bad conditions. Opening with elaborate descriptions of snow. 32 grades temperatures. and a winter scene. readers can foretell that this bad conditions symbolizes something depressing and that the narrative will non be excessively uplifting. The bad conditions. in this instance. bases for the sullen tone that the writer tries to convey. The snow in this narrative besides can stand for a clean slate or a fresh beginning. which. unlike what was stated above. is non needfully bad. Merely as the snow provides a clean canvas. the chief character is acquiring an chance to hold a new start by broadening his skylines outside of his familiar comfort zone through the confession of a durable love and by finally taking himself from the high school environment he had grown so accustomed to. This symbolic beginning to the narrative foreshadows that the tone of the narrative will be bit by bit dejecting.

School. besides introduced in the narrative beginning. conveys a feeling of comfort. This school refers to the sense of shelter in which the chief character. William. feels evidently comfy. Loss of comfort. the subject of this short narrative. is genuinely demonstrated through this symbol. William is a senior who has been go toing his high school for the yesteryear for old ages and feels really comfy at that place. However. William besides knows that this is his last twelvemonth as a high school pupil and hence must shortly go forth his school. his sense of shelter. To him. school is a comfort-zone.

This is because he has attended it for many old ages and hence knows his manner about. he knows the people at that place. peculiarly his schoolmates. and. being a senior. he thinks of himself as one of the schools imperviable upper-classmen ; person who can non be affected by the lesser or younger pupils. He demonstrates this feeling of high quality by mentioning to himself as a male monarch [ who ] seemed to travel to his place between the bowed caputs of topics ( 55 ) . To William. school is a topographic point abundant in consolation. and one where he thrives. To conceive of go forthing his sense of shelter was about intolerable for him. due to his utmost comfort in being surrounded by all this acquaintance.

One of the familiar objects that drew William to his sense of shelter was his symbolic desk. Due to his last name. Young. William was ever seated in the dorsum of the room with all the other pupils that had last names in the dorsum of the alphabet. His place was sanctioned for tradition ( 55 ) and he remained sitting in the same desk for 12 old ages. This place. excessively. provided a certain comfort degree. He was ever able to cognize which of his equals he would be nigh. such as Martha Wyckoff or the Zimmermans. and could acknowledge anything in his seating country. even something every bit little as a bluish ink discoloration. The desk in this narrative clearly shows how Williams comfort degree was based on acquaintance and a deficiency of alteration.

This symbol non merely represents the deficit of alteration in Williams siting agreement. but his lifes overall deficiency of alteration. every bit good. Just as Williams desk ever appeared to be in the same location and within the propinquity of the same pupils. this thought of sameness carried over into his existent life. William ever sat with the same. younger pupils at tiffin. he ever sat entirely on the coach. he followed his regular agenda and knew what to anticipate on a twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours footing. The desk here is genuinely important because it represents the deficiency of alteration in Williams being.

What all these symbols do is repeat to us the evident subject. loss of comfort. and how it allows William to experience a certain sum of contentment. When this comfort-level is challenged. the audience can detect how the tone gets more depressing. Whether it is through schools sense of shelter. a desk. or snowy. cold yearss. these symbols all play an of import function in back uping the subject and tone of the narrative. It is for these grounds that these symbols are so critical in conveying the over-all narrative. Sense of Shelter.

Plants Cited

Updike. John. A Sense of Shelter. Introduction to the Short Story. Boynton. Robert W. and Mack. Maynard. Boynton/Cook Publishers. New Hampshire:1992.