The Silk and the Bath

In ‘The Silk’ by Joy Cowley, an important idea is eternal love. This is developed by Cowley’s use of symbolism, through a piece of silk the old couple share throughout the story. In ‘The Bath’ by Janet Frame, an important idea is death. This is developed through Frame’s use of symbolism, as the bath the old lady uses in the story.

An important idea in ‘The Silk’ by Joy Cowley is eternal love. It is shown by the use of symbolism through the piece of silk the old couple share. Throughout the story, key events are linked to the silk, for example when the wife cuts the silk, she is admitting to herself that the husband, and life-long love, is about to die. The piece of silk also represents the cutting of the ties between the couple. For this reason, the lady tries to put off the cutting of the silk several times as she knows and understands it symbolises the end of the couple’s life together and although she knows he is about to die, she does not want to believe it yet. “Together they felt the pain as the blades met cleanly, almost without resistance, in that first cut. The silk would never be the same again.” The reference to the silk never being the same again also refers to the couple’s marriage and relationship toward each other and after the wife cuts the silk, their relationship also will be forever different.

In ‘The Bath’ by Janet Frame, an important idea is death. This is shown through using a bath as a symbol of the edge of a cliff, as the old lady feels she must cling onto it for dear life. Throughout the story, everyday routines for the lady become nightmarish events, and the lady dreads these as she is aware of the common struggles. The main evidence we see is how her simply taking bath turns into a frightening episode for the lady. We feel her dread as she explains the need for a bath, and then her fear as she feels she must hang on for her life when she has one.   As she is climbing into the bath, she is “clinging to the slippery yellow-stained rim...