Empire of the Sun

by J. G. Ballard
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In "Empire of the Sun" what do the swimming pools in Chapter Seven symbolize?

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Like the swimming pools he encounters Jim is slowly being drained. Young and naive, he has been filled with a sense of hope. However, having left the hospital, Jim is now alone and everywhere he turns doors are being slammed in his face. He has no family to rely on...

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Like the swimming pools he encounters Jim is slowly being drained. Young and naive, he has been filled with a sense of hope. However, having left the hospital, Jim is now alone and everywhere he turns doors are being slammed in his face. He has no family to rely on now and no one to take care of him. He is beginning to lose his innocence and, with it, his hope for the future. He will become so emotionally and physically drained that when Basie and Frank try to sell him to traders at the market that he does not even resist. He is being beaten down, literally and figuratively, by the war and—like the swimming pool—he is becoming an empty shell. He will not start to fill up again until he has some stability.

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