what is the overall theme of "The Ring" by Isak Dinesen?

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The overall theme of Isak Dinesen's short story "The Ring" is self-discovery.

The character of Lise is a young woman who has never experienced the self-realization that comes with finding oneself, identifying goals, and realistically look at the world that surrounds us.

Instead, she comes across as a pampered girl with impulsive ways whose fantasy is that of a damsel or princess in search of her prince charming. This prince charming she believes she has found in the husband that she marries less than a week before the story begins.

In her world, she sees herself as a kid playing house rather than as a wife with responsibilities that, at some point, will have to make sacrifices. Being that she has been oblivious to who she is, what she wants or what she even desires from life, she has continued to live life this way.

It takes one encounter with a complete stranger to make her realize that there is another side of her that has been unexplored: The wild and dangerous side of her that is willing to take risks. For this reason, she believes that her life is over after she realizes that she chooses to give up her wedding ring in exchange of her life. Therefore, what is the real value of that ring? That is the question that will forever haunt her now.

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