[The artificiality and repressiveness of Appleyard College are uncomfortably recognizable in Picnic at Hanging Rock.] The opening sequence of St. Valentine's morning is characterized by the excitement of the girls' exchange of greetings among themselves and their teachers. It closes, however, with the haunting image of one of the girls imprisoning a rose in a flower-press. What had been a delicate, vital blossom becomes a beautiful, dead icon.
The pressing of the rose emblematically depicts the emotional ambiance of the school. The symbol of eternal love is closed in the airless device just as the affection between Miranda and Sara …, an orphan and the school's youngest boarder, is enclosed...
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