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Little Dorrit

Little Dorrit

by Charles Dickens

Nobody's Rose

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

For a little while, Arthur splits into two personalities. There's regular old Arthur, a practical, quiet, tired, generally low-energy man. And then there's Nobody, a guy who suddenly finds himself in love with the young Pet Meagles and starting to have fantasies of a future together with her. Why do we get this odd way of showing how Arthur is trying not to fall for this girl? It might be a handy visual for demonstrating sexual repression and just how messed up Arthur feels for wanting to be with this young woman. It's also a neat parallel to Pet's dead twin – another Nobody who, under different circumstances, might have ended up Arthur's wife. (Let's not get too hung up on the fact that this means Arthur is really only in there for Pet's looks – anyone who looks like her would apparently do.) When Arthur finally gives up this aspect of his personality – youth, desire, hope for a sexual future – he sends a rose floating down the river near Meagles's house. Good-bye, Rose. Good-bye hopeful Arthur. Immediately afterwards, he starts thinking of himself as an old man.

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