Symbolism In Black Spring

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“Let us not deceive ourselves; we must elect world peace or world destruction”, Bernard Baruch. Baruch and Henri Miller are in complete agreement in this regard; throughout Black Spring Miller alludes to mankind’s tendency for self-destruction. While the west has achieved great things and enjoys a standard of living unrivaled by any region in the world, the rise of far right dictatorships and even the idea of American perfectionism threaten to obliterate the straightforward lives the bulk of the world’s middle class revel in. The two concepts, the growth of the state and the individual, are intertwined throughout Black Spring through Miller’s extensive use of literary devices. By way of imagery, symbolism, and foreshadowing Miller is able to …show more content…
The contemporary political landscape is given mammoth attention, and Miller shows foresight that would give any educated individual a reason to pause. “When next the trumpet blows it will be like pushing a button: as the first man fall he will push over the next, and the next the next, and so on down the line, round the world, from New York to Nagasaki, from the Artic to the Antarctic (Miller 210). This astounding quote provides some startling foresight; not only does Miller correctly predict the coming of the age of weapons of mass destruction, but foresees their proliferation across the globe. This should not discount either the sheer coincidence or fortuitous guess of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Nagasaki during the Second World War. The combination of symbolism and foreshadowing clearly exhibits Miller’s acute understanding of the geopolitical situation of his time and the ramifications of this upon the ordinary western citizen. For the state to gain these immense powers, the individual citizen’s basic liberties must be undermined because of the application of the doctrine of total war. “Only an engineer can ruin a bridge” (Miller 67), demonstrates Miller’s contempt for the progressive stance the state has concerning the advancement of science, particularly military science. This stance, as Miller articulates, will cost the average working man dearly in the coming

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