Journey to the End of the Night Setting & Symbolism

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Carnivals

Celine often writes Bardamu as being drawn to carnivals as a metaphor for life, with its distracting pleasures for sale, its lurid atmosphere and its predictable follies.

During the war, Bardamu goes insane in an abandoned carnival's shooting gallery when he sees all the holes in the tin soldiers. Bardamu imagines that people shot the toy soldiers with as little thoughtfulness and as much glee as the enemy had shot at him.

Carnivals symbolize the need for distraction and cheap pleasures that never leave us and which never satisfies us. For Bardamu, it stands for all the sham promises, all the glittering yet empty dreams that disappoint us. Bardamu notes the sadness of the children who cannot afford the games and the naivety of those who think the adults presenting the games are just kind, fun-loving people, failing to see that they are either cynics or tricksters...

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This section contains 314 words
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Buy the Journey to the End of the Night Study Guide
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