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Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Shivers went down our spine when we read that scene in Chapter 35 when the Dwarf stares at Will and Jim taking pictures with his eyes. "Blinkety-click"? Shiver.

This idea of eyes as mechanic recording devices pervades the novel and crops up in other less creepy contexts. There are at least two instances when Will is startled because his brain has finally "processed" what his eyes have seen. First, he wakes up out of sound sleep in Chapter 29 when he realizes that the lightning rod on Jim's roof was gone. He had seen the house earlier, of course, but hasn't fully realized what he was seeing until later. Secondly, when he is in Miss Foley's house, Will is reaching for something to say to her and her nephew when his brain "processes" the sign outside Mr. Crosetti's shop door labeling it closed on account of illness. Both these descriptions parallel the Dwarf's experience, albeit in a less creepy, less mechanical fashion. Could this suggest that the Dwarf is still capable of human experience, but a radically altered, very messed up form of human experience?

We're most interested in this mechanic approach to vision, but eyes and sight play a big role in other ways too. While the carnival may radically change a person's body, his or her eyes never alter. The boys are thus able to identify "Robert" as Mr. Cooger, for example. This passage on the Dwarf connects well to this concept:

And in his eyes were the lost bits and fitful pieces of a man named Fury who had sold lightning rods how many days how many years ago in the long, the easy, the safe and wondrous time before this fright was born. (35.25)

Given their unchanging nature in the novel, it appears that eyes really are the window into the soul, that essential part of our humanity.

Other imagery dealing with eyes that you might want to think about include the five eyes tattooed on the back of Mr. Dark's fingers (creepy!), the Witch's blindness, and the ways in general that eyes may be a limited form of experience. Can you trust your eyes in this novel? Sight is not always desirable, as in the case of the Mirror Maze, where characters are sometimes horrified by the things they see reflected back at them.

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