Two interesting ways symbolism illustrates the themes of Karen Russell’s “The Prospectors" (2015) is through the motifs of color and of flight and descent.
Russell’s imagery in the story is rich with color—whether it be through the description of Clara’s mother, Mrs. Finisterre, “cubing green and orange melon” during cocktail hour or the “black” Atlantic rippling emptily through the eyeglasses of Mr. Finisterre, Clara’s father. The use of color amplifies the story’s lush, baroque tone and is also entwined with its theme of the consequence of chasing empty materialism. The colorful worlds which Clara, and especially Aubby, desire to inhabit are all-glitter, all-glamour, and ultimately all-surface.
Interestingly, Aubby’s name is short for Aubergine, the “French name for eggplant,” evoking the vegetable’s smooth, purple glossiness. Thus, it is no coincidence that Aubby, the story’s narrator, is obsessed with the appearance of things. When Clara, her best friend,...
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