Neon in Daylight Symbols & Objects

Hermione Hoby
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Masters and PhD Degrees

The Masters and PhD degrees, which Kate has completed and begun respectively, are symbolic of her tendency to fulfill other people’s expectations of her rather than pursue her own interests and desires: “a master’s degree completed dutifully, pointlessly; a commitment to a PhD made miserably, uncertainly” (4). Prior to arriving in New York, Kate’s sense of self has been defined by her academic achievements despite her own lack of pride or even interest in what she has accomplished.

Cigarettes and Lighter

The cigarettes and lighter that Kate purchases in a Bodega on her first full day in New York - after seeing Inez purchase the same cigarettes and lighter - are symbolic of Kate’s desperate search for a way to define herself having cast off her old definitions. She thinks the cigarettes will function as a stand-in for a personality...

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This section contains 1,015 words
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Buy the Neon in Daylight Study Guide
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