Grand Union Symbols & Objects

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Chicken wing - "The Dialectic"

The chicken wing the woman is eating in "The Dialectic" is a symbol of her inability to move on from her anger about the father of her children abandoning their family. At the beginning of the story, the woman tells her daughter that she would like to be "on good terms with all animals" (1), and the daughter laughs at the unlikelihood of this. The woman realizes that it is a fairly hypocritical statement to make, given that she is actively eating a chicken wing at the time. At the end of the story, the woman buries the chicken wing, a symbol of her failure, in the sand, as she imagines a violent scene in a chicken slaughterhouse. This imagery corresponds with her angry thoughts about the father of her children, demonstrating that there is a symbolic connection between these seemingly disparate subjects...

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This section contains 1,257 words
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Buy the Grand Union Study Guide
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