Nights at the Circus Setting & Symbolism

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Abyss

The Abyss is one of the names Mme Schreck gives her sideshow brothel, where men can purchase sex acts with women with physical deformities.

Amulet

The Shaman’s amulet is a bag that holds stones and other talismans related to his magical work. His cousin, the midwife, also has one.

Bombe-Surprise

“Bombe-Surprise” is a Victorian dessert made of coffee ice cream covered in toasted meringue and served with peach puree. The “surprise” part is a maraschino-soaked sponge cake hidden in the center. When Jenny’s husband is served one of these at his wedding reception, he dies.

Books

Books represent knowledge, both earthly and arcane. The women at Ma Nelson’s brothel teach themselves with books from the vast library left her by a satisfied client.

Mr. Rosencreutz reads from an arcane tome of magic, which tells him how to gain eternal life.

The women held prisoner...

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This section contains 1,977 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Nights at the Circus Study Guide
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