The Friend: A Novel Symbols & Objects

Sigrid Nunez
This Study Guide consists of approximately 44 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Friend.
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"You's" Suicide

"You's" suicide symbolizes the inevitable death of one definition of art. Throughout the novel, "you" advocates for a traditional understanding of art as "imagination... getting at the truth," critiquing contemporary movement such as safe spaces (193). While the unnamed narrator never explicitly agrees or disagrees with "you," the fact that "you" commits suicide implies that this understanding of art will eventually kill itself. In this way, Nunez uses "you's" suicide to make a statement about the contemporary field of writing.

The Memorial Service

The memorial service symbolizes how the field of contemporary writing needs to change. The narrator observes that the memorial service, although its purpose is to mourn someone's death, is "not very different from other literary gatherings" (7). In effect, the narrator asserts that contemporary literary gatherings are slowly dying, implying that the field of contemporary literature needs to change if it is going to...

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This section contains 896 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Friend: A Novel  Study Guide
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