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Analysis

The Street and The Road

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The novel begins and ends on the road, and we see dozens of them in between. Interestingly, the street takes on two distinct meanings in the novel. For Joe Christmas, the street functions as a series of endless dead ends; after he sees Bobbie for the last time, he enters the street, "which was to run for fifteen years" (10.3). He's constantly walking in an attempt to find himself or to reach clarity, but instead he just ends up confused or threatens violence, as when he wanders into a black neighborhood with a razor in his hand. In contrast, for Lena Grove the road is redemptive and filled with infinite possibilities. The road delivers her to Jefferson and to Byron Bunch, and by the end of the novel it's leading her toward a new life with her make-shift family.

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