How are books symbolized in Third Day?  

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In The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco creates parallels between the sexual relationship of men and women, minor chuchmen and wealth, and monks and books. Books are seen as the equivalent of adulterous or avaricious temptations, drawing monks in particular from their proper duties and attentions.

This is particularly important because in this section of the book young Adso has his seduction of a nameless kitchen maid, which is his first sexual encounter. As both a young man and an older man looking back, the girl represents sin and error, but also God-given pleasure and delight. Because of the parallel created at the beginning of the "day," the reader can see Adso's sexual encounter as a dramatization of the temptations being played out over the search for the manuscript, and the desire for books and manuscripts throughout the entire novel.

This parallel is critical, and part of a much larger discussion throughout The Name of the Rose of books as carriers of both blessings and sins, heresies and sacred knowledge, mystery and revelation. Adso's complicated feelings about a single sexual encounter with a woman whose name he never even knows serves as a simple model of the more abstract passions played out over the course of the novel in relationship to the missing Aristotle manuscript and the nature of sin and heresy.

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