In "The Japanese Quince," what do you think the tree mentioned in the story symbolizes?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As was mentioned in the previous post, the Japanese quince tree symbolizes nature, beauty, and tranquility. Throughout the short story, Mr. Nilson and Mr. Tandram are both inextricably drawn towards the quince tree in the garden. Galsworthy reveals the inherent desire of both men to seek and enjoy nature. However, when both men encounter the lovely quince tree, they attempt to categorize the tree by naming it. The presence of the quince tree also gives Mr. Nilson a peculiar sensation, which illustrates his alienation with nature. Mr. Nilson and Mr. Tandram do not elborate on the tree's beauty, nor do they quietly enjoy the tranquilty of the Japanese quince. Both men exit the garden quickly and return to their business matters. Interestingly, Mr. Nilson cannot get rid of the queer feeling in the back of his throat as he opens his paper in digust. Mr. Nilson attempts to suppress his inherent desire to interact with nature and humans.

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Japanese Quince most probably symbolizes nature and nature's beauty which Mr. Nilson and Mr. Tandram have both been ignoring for years. Both men are businessmen, accustomed to routine. The author notes that Mr. Nilson is "well known in the City" but he has never met his own neighbor. Their awkward moment together indicates how comfortable Nilson has become with his safe, ordered, and familiar life. Both men are so awkward when meeting each other that, instead of commenting on the rare beauty of the flowering tree, they instead try to name it and thus, categorize it into a nice, neat box. Thus, in a very short time, the author has shown two men, Nilson especially, who is out of touch with those close to him and probably, out of touch with his own emotions.

sepidehhanifi | Student

this tree sombolizes freshness, growth,happiness, fredom,joy and life that Mr. Nilson lack these and maybe had ignore them before.

kyocat | Student

The quince tree is the most important symbol in the story because it reflects the character of Mr.Nilson and how his life is sterile and meaningless which makes him feel empty and sad. The tree attracted Mr.Nilson because he saw himself in it beautiful from the outside but fruitless and when he thought of that he knew the reason of the “feeling of emptiness just under his fifth rib”.