Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Analysis

Old Hell Shaft

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

And speaking of giant pits of despair – Old Hell Shaft! So there are subtle symbols, and then there is this one. Let's see if we can decipher the very cryptic meaning here. Literally falling down a giant pit of doom is a little like…? Yes, that's right, figuratively falling down a giant pit of doom. Just as Stephen is actually killed because he can't escape from the big hole in the ground he walked into sight unseen, so too is he emotionally and psychically trapped in his terrible marriage. Or maybe it's the legal system that he is trapped inside – the legal system which won't let him get a divorce? Or maybe it's not his marriage that is the pit of doom, but the way he is treated by the workers who shun him for not joining the union? Are there other possibilities? You decide.

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