Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time Questions and Answers
by Peter Taylor

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How is symbolism used in Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time? Comment on the painting and the text.

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As with the painting, the faintly incestuous relationship of the Dorset brother and sister in Peter Taylor's story highlights the topics of forbidden sexuality. Taylor's story is also a statement about class illusions in middle America, about the symbolism inherent in the connection between incest and the exclusivity of old-world, American Southern aristocracy.

In the story, Taylor highlights not just the vaguely incestuous relationship between Mr. Dorset and Miss Dorset, he also uses the incest symbolism to spotlight the claustrophobic exclusivity of the young people within the community. Teenagers from suitable families who are of age attend the yearly pre-debutante ball held at the Dorset property. There, all are expected to mingle among acceptably chosen companions of the same class and social stations in life.

In this interview, Peter Taylor notes his familiarity with the world he grew up in. He asserts that this segregation of young people is purposefully designed to fulfill the...

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Madeleine Wells eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write3,294 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics