The Best Girlfriend You Never Had

How does Pam Houston use imagery in The Best Girlfriend You Never Had?

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Symbolic imagery is imagery that carries with it a wide range of associations through its repeated use in specific contexts. For example, Houston uses the image of swans at the gardens to symbolize monogamy and lasting romantic love. Swans usually have one partner and mate for life, the same thing that Lucy desires. Bridges, although a part of the San Francisco landscape, also have symbolic associations, as they represent a safe way to cross dangerous territory. Lucy is looking for just such a bridge in her quest for meaning and love. Houston uses other symbols as well, such as naming the street Lucy lived on as a child "Worth Avenue," signifying the very thing that the adult Lucy needs.

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The Best Girlfriend You Never Had