this story is a part of FIREWORKS: NINE PROFANE PIECES by Angela Carter [i had a hard time looking for analysis on Reflections in the net, so i tried to have one, i hope this helps.]
REFLECTIONS: An Analysis
The story depicts on the title itself. Reflections referred to in the story are the contradictories and equivalences in human life as well as the world where they exist. The story starts when the male protagonist in the story, happen to see a strange shell which is as heavy as gravity. This shell however seems to be only its own reflection. The shell itself symbolizes reflection of existence and the non-existence. Though the shell is very heavy, the man is determined to carry it on the palm of his hand. There are lots of symbolism used in the story including the rifle used by the androgyne that captured the man, the shell, the mossed sundial and the little statue of a nude youth, the mirror, the androgyne and her knitting. The rifle which is used by the androgyne and her niece Anna serves as their weapon, strength and protection against the man. The shell somehow depicts impossibility as it is very unexplainable for a small thing which is a size of a cupped hand to be as heavy as earth and as cold as death. Likewise, it sounds so absurd that a shell which is elaborately whorled and intricately designed thing like that is found in the middle of the forest that must be somewhere beneath the ocean. The mossed sundial reflects the antiquity of time while the statue of nude youth represents the man himself and his innocence and vulnerability. The mirror is one of the most crucial components of the plot because it is where the reflections exist. It shows the horrors of reality that exist in our world today. The androgynous woman is a symbolic figure herself, she is compared to more likely refer to as Tiresias. The two of them are capable of prophetic projection. Tiresias is known for his oracles. On the other hand, the androgyne still empowers masculinity therefore the androgyne represents the third sex too. The last important symbol in the story is the knitting of the androgyne that connects the real world and makes a new and different existence. It is the umbilical cord that leads the man to another setting of the story which is the complete reverse of the first one. That is why in the first part of the story; the product of the knitting is designed intricately. Every corner was softened by cobwebs while the industrious spiders had bound filaments of geometric lace this way and that between the crumbling furniture. This knitting dwells between the good and bad, the real and unreal and the existing and non-existing. Aside from symbolisms, there are also schools of thought employed in the story. These are feminism, deconstruction and magic realism. Feminism is shown on the character of the androgynous woman and her niece Anna. They manipulated the man and used their rifle to make the man follow their words. The story also employs deconstruction for it reverses done of the negative social phenomenon in our society today and that is the dominance of man by means of violence. It is when Anna, using her rifle as a symbol of her dominance, took advantage on the mans weakness and innocence. She used force to rape him. In our current world, it is common for a woman to be raped by a man. On the contrary, it sounds absurd and ridiculous for am woman to rape a man. This, thus, demonstrates the horror of the prevalent double standard in our society. Through deconstruction, Angela Carter was able to raise the issue of rape in the society. Magic realism is also embodied in the story. It is very evident in the setting of the story which consists of two worlds, the real one and the reflection of it which is in reversed occurrence. Angela Carter was able to describe the worst side of reality by using cryptic events and necromantic characters in the story and the use of supernatural concepts and ideas. Lastly, the story shows reversed psychology. One instance in the story is when the man wished to get near to Anna; he walked backward until he reached her. The best quotation that I can suit with this is the saying, in every action, there is an equivalent and opposite reaction.