the Marriage Plot Symbols & Objects

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Stained Dress

The stained dress Madeleine wears to her graduation is symbolic of her inability to separate her romantic drama from her personal goals and ambitions. Rather than allowing herself to celebrate her achievements at Brown with her family, Madeleine allows her breakup with Leonard and ill-advised night of drinking with Thurston to dominate her graduation day, a fact demonstrated by the dress that was stained during her encounter with Thurston that she continues to wear the next day while meeting her family and getting ready for graduation.

Ficus Tree

The ficus tree in Leonard’s apartment is symbolic of the changing power dynamics in Leonard and Madeleine’s relationship. When Madeleine first starts watering the tree, Leonard responds as if she is being needy and trying to force herself into his life by domesticating his space. Later, when Leonard is in hospital and Madeleine is living...

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This section contains 1,103 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Marriage Plot Study Guide
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