Ann Beattie Writing Styles in Janus

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Symbols and Imagery

The bowl in "Janus" serves as both the primary image and symbol of the story. Indeed, the story seems to be more about the bowl than about the main character; Beattie takes great care to present the bowl in a variety of settings and light. Such careful attention to the detail of the bowl suggests that Beattie places the weight of the story on this image.

It is possible to view the bowl as a symbol for Andrea: smooth, perfect, empty. It is also possible to read the bowl as a symbol for the world that people of Andrea's (and Beattie's) generation find themselves in: "the world cut in half, deep and smoothly empty." In such a world, filled with materialism rather than spiritual wealth, people find themselves alone without close or intimate relationships. Certainly, it seems apparent that the bowl becomes the receptacle for and...

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This section contains 443 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Janus Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
Janus from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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