What does the title "the vertical ladder" resemble? What is the theme of this work?

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A ladder is a symbol of passage from one realm to another. Descending a ladder might indicate a passage through death, the underworld, or the subconscious. Ascending a vertical ladder indicates a spiritual or transformational encounter, perhaps with the heavenly.


The themes, however, are more social and psychological in nature: this story focuses on the risks involved in going to (literal) extremes, and how doing so isolates one dangerously from one's fellow humans.

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