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Word Count: 886
Although there is very little exterior action in John Galsworthys very short short story The Japanese Quince the perceptive reader knows that an opportunity has been passed by and that the protagonist has chosen to stay closed to the beauty of life rather than risk change Some readers may not understand this action that consists entirely of not choosing and not responding indeed the protagonist himself is unaccountably upset at the end of the story completely unaware of the choice he has made Yet the author has through subtle symbolism made it clear to his readers Galsworthys use of symbolism especially the technique of the double or mirror image functions to define the restrictive lifestyle of Mr Nilson to illuminate the exciting potentiality of a new life and to explain Mr Nilsons retreat from rebirth Galsworthy carefully builds the impression that Mr Nilsons life is an empty rigid sterile conformity all of which is summarized by his name Nilson literally the son of nothing may have wealth he has a dressing room and presumably a servant to lay out his morning paper on the sideboard and reputation he is well known in the City but through his name Galsworthy signals that these are worthless Mr Nilsons life is best described by the symbol of a circle like the circular path in the gardens upon which he makes two revolutions before he stops His breakfast is always at 830 he always reads his journal He wears his formal black frock coat to the office every day He has been so caught in the routine of his married life that his neighbor of five years is a stranger since They had not yet had occasion to speak to one another However through nature symbolism Galsworthy introduces the possibility that Mr Nilson can escape his rigid routine and claim a fresh spontaneous new life It is spring fever that poor Mr Nilson cannot recognize in himself
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