Call It Sleep: Themes and Images

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Call It Sleep: Connecting Themes and Images
There are many reoccurring themes throughout the novel Call It Sleep. One theme that I became particularly interested in was the vast difference between the cellar and the fresh white snowfall seen in book one, as well as the meanings and connotations attributed to these particular events. We are first introduced to the cellar on page twenty when David walks down the stairs to go outside and play with the other neighborhood children. “A few steps from the bottom landing, he paused and stared rigidly at the cellar door. It bulged with darkness.” The way Roth makes David stop in fear and suspicion of the cellar door, and the language he uses to portray the door gives this scene a very eerie vibe and I was drawn to the cellar, intrigued by what was behind that cellar door terrifying David. Similarly, another important image, the mention of a “pure white” snowfall on page fifty-nine, caught my attention. Whereas the cellar door could be attributed to darkness, this mention of bright white snow could be attributed to uncontaminated and pure thoughts.

The cellar door is portrayed as a very dark and ominous object, whereas the snow fall is depicted as being pure and miraculously clean. Roth uses very descriptive language in identifying both the negative and positive connotation associated with both of these images. In describing the cellar for instance, “It was horrible, the dark. The rats lived there, the hordes of nightmare, the wobbly faces, and the crawling and misshapen things.” The language that Roth uses to illustrate the cellar, specifically the negative nuances he uses to describe it, affirms the darkness and terror associated with the cellar itself. On the contrary, Roth uses very positive language to describe the purity of the snow. “But how miraculously clean it was, all about him, whiter than anything he knew, whiter than anything, whiter.” Briefly above I have touched on the language that Roth uses to...
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