From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
As we note in our discussion of "Setting," some critics and readers resist or reject the symbolic approach to this story. All this talk of symbolism can seem overly fancy, at odds with the clean, smooth lines of the story. If you are one of those readers, go with that. It’s OK to just let a mountain be a mountain, a river a river, and pregnancy a pregnancy, etc.