Is there a metaphor for a father-son relationship in the short story, "The Circular Ruin"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A father-son relationship is depicted in "The Circular Ruin" on two levels. The first is the dreamer's efforts to realize his greatest dream, which is the act of creation of an independent sensate life from his own inner being, which can be viewed as a metaphor for the desire of males to procreate.

The dreamer spends great lengths of time dedicated and devoted to nothing other than the realization of dreaming every part of the creation's body from the heart outward to every individual hair. His dream labors continue as he instructs the being in how to do and how to be. This most definitely can be seen as a metaphor for a high model of a father-son relationship.

The second level is that when the dreamer's work is done and his creation, his dream, has initiated an independent existance, he disovers by his ability to walk into the fire of the fire god's temple that he too is the dream of another individual with the same immortal power of being impervious to fire. One infers that the first dreamer of the second dreamer was as tender and loving as the dreamer himself was, since he too imparted the final gift of the removal of all memory of the creation and instruction so that there would be no feeling of humiliation or strangeness.

The idea of a prior generation of dreamer reinforces the metaphor of the father-son relationship: it is the right model. Further, it is a lasting and true model because, of course, if there were two, there must surely have been others leading up to the two dreamers.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial