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What is the significance in the novel of the incident where Dora rescues a butterfly on the train?

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What is the significance in the novel of the incident where Dora rescues a butterfly on the train? In Greek Mythology Psyche, the soul, was represented by butterfly wings because of the myth about Psyche and Eros. In the myth the conflict between mother and daughter-in-law is explored and it follows the progress of Psyche evolving from an unconscious state to a conscious state. The symbolism of the butterfly is shown within the novel as Dora changes through her contact with the people she meets at Imber Court, and through the events that occur such as Toby and Dora becoming close through the bell, Dora saving Catherine from drowning herself and finally when Dora rings the bell and makes a decision to change her life. Dora decides to change her life for the better because before she went to Imber and during the times when Paul was around, she felt trapped, just like the butterfly, and could not find a suitable escape route. ...read more.


'...and generally behaved to her as if she were his prisoner.' shows that she probably feels even more trapped than before her escape, but it is as if she has cocooned herself like a caterpillar waiting and preparing herself to evolve into a butterfly, into freedom when she can fly freely. In Chapter 23 of the novel, the procession of the new bell is taking place and there are many visitors to Imber Court. Unfortunately the causeway collapses and the bell falls into the lake taking a boy with it. During the commotion Catherine, pushes past Dora and this has a delayed effect on Dora, but one that makes Dora possibly change her views on life. 'All the same it was no business of Dora's. Yet she felt anxious and wanted to make sure that all was well.' Dora's worries are very similar to those she has on the train when contemplating whether or not to save the butterfly, although at this moment in time, it is not about life or death, though it does become it. ...read more.


The passage with the butterfly helps the reader to get a feel of Cora's character, indecisive and easily embarrassed. At the beginning of the book Dora feels highly aware of people around her and what they think would be best to do, also their opinions of what she would do. At the end of the book, when Dora returns to Imber on her own, she is making decisions on her own and without hesitating. 'Then a new idea occurred to her' Dora has no worries about her new idea, she just does it, and even though there is no-one around to judge her, the Dora from the past would probably not have been so brave to do such a thing as blocking the lake entrance without permission, or guidance. The incident with the butterfly is very significant, as the butterfly shapes Dora and who her character within the novel is, going through stages of change in her life, and the incident as a whole shapes the character of Dora in the eyes of the reader, giving them an idea of her personality. Dani Pellowe 12G ...read more.

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