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Analysis

The Cypress Tree

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The cypress tree is mentioned twice in "Spring in Fialta," in the very first paragraph, and again in the very last. Funny how that works. Victor says that it "indicat[es] the way" to Fialta, which is a bit morbid when you remember that cypresses have been a symbol of death since way back in the Greek day when, according to mythology, they made up most of the Underworld’s foliage. Since "Spring in Fialta" is fatalistic and tells us over and over that Nina is going to die, this isn’t too surprising a portent. The second time we see the cypress is when Victor and Nina are standing on the terrace after lunch. Right before he tells her he loves her, Victor describes the view for his reader: "the smoke of an indiscernible train undulated along [Mount St. George’s] rounded base—and suddenly disappeared; still lower, above the jumble of roofs, one could perceive a solitary cypress." His declaration of love, like Nina’s life, is doomed.

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