Symbolism In The Paring Knife

Decent Essays

The use of symbolism in short stories enhances the meaning behind the literal meaning that the plot poses. It connects the reader towards visually connecting symbols to particular concepts in the story. In the story, “The Paring Knife” by Michael Oppenheimer, introduces us to two characters whom are lovers yet through the finding of a paring knife under their refrigerator, a past unfortunate event in their relationship begins to unfold. Symbolism is present all through the story, as even the title suggests at first that the paring knife will be symbolic to understand the meaning of the story. Symbolism is prevalent in “The Paring Knife”, to contribute to the overall significance of the short story.

Initially, the author introduces us to …show more content…

It opens up the plot for discussion as to whether by hiding the knife the conflict will ever be resolved.

To continue, the story emphasizes on the lover's cleaning of the house. The author begins the story through both the lovers "cleaning [their] house" and also the morning after their argument they both started to clean the mess. Through the repetition of this action it signifies that even though they had already made up, they still had unresolved issues and still four years later continue to clean as to symbolize that those issues still remain. Upon the finding of the knife, the woman disregards the knife as something not even remotely significant, as the narrator did and "went into the next room and continued to clean". Because she does not want to deal with the strains that argument put on their relationship, she continues to clean. The narrator after sweeping everything off the table after their argument and seeing the mess, says that he thought he had "destroyed everything". Cleaning was his way of fixing what he thought had broken in their relationship and continues to clean as a symbol of still trying to take back what he had done.

In addition, another symbol that Oppenheimer uses to enhance the significance of the story is through the character of the narrator’s lover, who he calls the “woman I love”.

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