A Wild Swan: And Other Tales Symbols & Objects

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Missing Body Parts

Missing parts of the body symbolize the deconstruction of the self, and the preoccupying concern with being seen as less than human.

In "A Wild Swan," the spell placed upon one of the princes is not fully reversed so that instead of an arm he has a swan's wing. From then on he is trapped in a cycle of rejecting, and then reluctantly accepting, his new condition. At one point he tries to see it, in a fit of optimism, as being like "a compelling mutation; a young god, proud to the point of sexy arrogance of his anatomical deviation" (11). In contrast, the young man in "Steadfast; Tin" has had his own affliction—a missing –leg—for much longer, if not his entire life; his main challenge is in getting others to accept his difference. When he finally does meet the right girl, the...

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This section contains 2,271 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Wild Swan: And Other Tales Study Guide
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