The Tables Turned (Poem) Symbols & Objects

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Books

The books described in the first stanza and elsewhere throughout the poem symbolize the limitations of the prescribed system of human knowledge. Books, as man-made objects designed to catalog and communicate facts and ideas, inherently represent the passing on of knowledge from one person to another. However, the fact that books contain very specific and immutable knowledge means that they do not promote critical thinking on the part of the individual. The speaker urges their friend to rise from their books, equating them with “toil and trouble” (4). Later, they call books “a dull and endless strife,” further emphasizing the fact that they stand in the way of the acquisition of true knowledge (9).

The Sun

The sun, as described in the second stanza, symbolizes the valuable wisdom of nature. The speaker describes the sun rising above the mountain tops and shining its “freshening” and “sweet” light upon...

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This section contains 462 words
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Buy The Tables Turned (Poem) Study Guide
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