Nights at the Circus Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 108 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Nights at the Circus.
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Time

Time is an essential theme of the novel. Time here is both malleable and outside of human control. During Walser’s interview of Fevvers, time seems to stand still through the night: Big Ben strikes midnight three times. Lizzie possession of Ma Nelson’s clock seems to give her the same control over time that it had lent to the brothel, which remained always in a liminal state.

The Liminal

This state of the liminal, a sense of transition or being on threshold between two states, is ever present in the novel. The story, itself, is set at the threshold between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which will prove to be a time of intense changes in the world. This theme is closely related to the one previously discussed, in that liminal spaces seem to be outside time. Time seems to stop at several points in the novel...

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This section contains 4,424 words
(approx. 12 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Nights at the Circus Study Guide
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