Miss Flite's Birds
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
How creeptastic is it that Miss Flite has a bunch of caged birds in her room that are only going to be released when Jarndyce and Jarndyce is over? Pretty creeptastic. Plus, when we find out that the birds are named Hope, Joy, Youth, Peace, Rest, Life, Dust, Ashes, Waste, Want, Ruin, Despair, Madness, Death, Cunning, Folly, Words, Wigs, Rags, Sheepskin, Plunder, Precedent, Jargon, Gammon, and Spinach, and then when we learn that she added two more birds called the Wards in Jarndyce...well, that's the time to start slowly and carefully backing away. The bird names are a nice mix of pure nuttiness (we're guessing Spinach doesn't really have a deep meaning behind it) and insightfulness. In one way or another, many of those names really do represent something that's being kept imprisoned by the never-ending Jarndyce lawsuit. It's kind of a reverse Pandora's box: when Miss Flite finally releases the birds, it's a freedom and a release that's been long overdue.