The Lost Daughter Symbols & Objects

Elena Ferrante
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The doll

Elena's doll, Nani, is perhaps the central symbol in the novel, representing different facets of the mother-child relationship to different characters: while Nani represents love and loss to Elena and her family, to Leda, her secret possession of Nani represents an ability to control the mother-child relationship, something she feels she does not have with her own children. When Elena plays with Nani, the doll represents the love a mother has for a child, and the physicality of that love, expressed with hugs and kisses, yet to Leda, watching Elena playing with the doll, the mother-child relationship becomes distorted, almost grotesque. When Leda takes the doll and keeps it, she cares for the doll and speaks to it as if she is playing at being a mother to Nani. When Leda shakes Nani and turns her upside down in the sink to drain her, Nani...

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This section contains 1,208 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Lost Daughter Study Guide
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