Leaving Berlin Symbols & Objects

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Destruction

Destruction symbolizes the long-lasting impact of the war and the inability to return to an unchanged country after tragedy. While driving through the German countryside as well as the city, Alex laments the bombed buildings and ubiquitous heaps of rubble. He thinks constantly of the toll of the war when confronted with these images, wondering how awful the time must have been if the remnants remain years later, still as untouched.

Sex

Sex symbolizes both escape and youthful exploration. Alex remembers his "buoyant giddiness" (20) when he entered into a sexual relationship with Irene, enjoying the "furtive pleasure of being let in on a secret nobody else seemed to know" (20). Alex is both enamored with Irene for the danger she represents and the impropriety of their relationship, as well as for the escape from tradition and expectation when he is with her. For these reasons, sex represents...

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This section contains 825 words
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Buy the Leaving Berlin Study Guide
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