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Nick can be seen as a metaphor from Chapter 21. Nick is a metaphor for the path that Widge could take. Both Nick and Widge face a world in which there is a wide level of choice. They both operate free of the constraints of a moral or ethical paradigm. Widge has lived as an orphan, one who has not lived within an emotional frame of reference. Prior to his joining the acting troupe, he recognizes survival as something that governs his consciousness. Survival becomes the reality of such a wide level of choice. It is in this where Nick is a metaphor. Like Widge, Nick experiences a dizzying array of freedom because he is of age. Being the oldest of the apprentices, Nick is at the pitch of his freedom. As a result, he embraces socially destructive paths, seen in his fondness for drink as well as his cruel chastisement of Julia. Statements such as “It can’t be true! You can’t tell me I’ve been fencing with a girl for most of a year, and never knew it" reflect the anger and resentment Nick holds. In addition this this, it is Nick's cruelty that enables him to reveal Julia's secret. Nick becomes an easy target for Falconer as a result of his embrace of socially destructive tendencies. It is in this where he becomes a metaphor. Widge recognizes that Nick embodies a path and a set of conditions that he himself will not accept. Even though Widge experiences freedom to act in a self- absorbed manner, he rejects it for solidarity and identification with something larger. This is where Nick becomes a metaphor of what could be for Widge. Nick's metaphorical quality exists as the "anti- Widge."
In Chapter 22, Julia says that the element of disguise is important to everyone. In suggesting that everyone engages in disguise, Julia brings out another metaphor. The metaphor of disguise can be seen in the lives of different characters. Widge must disguise his true feelings, for as someone who is indentured he literally operates as someone else's property. Julia must disguise herself as a woman who wants to act, in strict defiance to social conventions. Nick must disguise his insecurities about maturation through alcohol. Finally, the cloak that the Falconer dons can be seen as a type of disguise that conceals him from the world. In each, the metaphor of disguise is significant to the narrative's characterizations.
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