The Strays Symbols & Objects

Emily Bitto
This Study Guide consists of approximately 49 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Strays.
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Gardens

Throughout the novel, gardens symbolize the various stages and processes of human life: magical adolescent wonderment, teenage exploration and uncertainty, adulthood growth and mortality. The Trentham garden, specifically, is continuously used to represent these mirroring processes. As a child, Lily recalls the Trentham garden as a “magical place” with “open spaces and secret nooks” (12); as an adult, when Lily revisits the Trenthams after many years, she sees “the garden obscuring the house” and posits that their garden “still forms the setting for my dreams” (222). Lily’s surreal and transcendent relationship with gardens signifies her ever-evolving life and relationship with existence.

Fire

Smoke and fire represent traumatic disaster, as fire imagery is directly evoked during Heloise’s meltdown. In the novel’s prologue, Lily suggests, “the smell of smoke will always be the scent of things gone wrong,” which the reader later discovers is because Heloise attempted...

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This section contains 836 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Strays Study Guide
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