Upstream Themes

Oliver, Mary
This Study Guide consists of approximately 37 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Upstream.
This section contains 2,449 words
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Nature is Inherently Symbolic, and Any Part of It Can Relay a Profound Meaning To Somebody Who Pays Attention To Somebody who Pays Attention to It.

In the tradition of Romantic poetry, Oliver approaches nature as inherently symbolic. As she walks through woods or nurtures an injured gull, she assumes that each place, each part, each occurrence has a meaning and a message to be communicated to her in that particular moment. And so, in her writing, she develops and presents the world’s symbols to her reader.

In Bird, which tells of Oliver's adoption of the injured gull, she sees both his positioning and his appearance as symbolic, as an example. She points out the sparkle in his eyes when they play with water together, a touching detail that symbolizes his joy and affection. Oliver introduced in The Bright Eyes of Eleonora several perspectives that develop the symbolic...

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This section contains 2,449 words
(approx. 7 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Upstream Study Guide
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