The Hotel New Hampshire Themes & Symbolism

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A major theme in The Hotel New Hampshire, as is the case in most of Irving's novels, is illusion versus reality. Some critics have pointed to the fairy-tale quality of the novel, and certainly the tame bear, the dog named Sorrow, who keeps reappearing in different forms, and the almost mystically diminutive stature of Lilly, the younger daughter, contribute to this sense of fantasy. But the concept of reality as illusory occurs on a deeper thematic level as well. John Berry says early in the novel, "The first of my father's illusions was that bears could survive the life lived by human beings, and the second was that human beings could survive a life led in hotels." The first Hotel New Hampshire is actually a converted school; the second is actually a haven for prostitutes and political terrorists; the third is not a hotel at all — but...

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This section contains 260 words
(approx. 1 page at 400 words per page)
Buy The Hotel New Hampshire Study Guide
Copyrights
Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults
The Hotel New Hampshire from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.