The Moonstone

by: Wilkie Collins

Symbols

The Moonstone

The Moonstone stands, in the first place, as a symbol for the exoticness, impenetrability, and dark mysticism of the East—Gabriel remarks that the stone "seemed unfathomable as the heavens themselves" and "shone awfully out of the depths of its own brightness, with a moony gleam, in the dark." In the second place, the Moonstone is associated with femininity and even feminine virginity, through its associations with the moon and with pricelessness. The theft of the Moonstone from Rachel Verinder's bedroom by her nearly betrothed, Franklin Blake, can be read as a metaphor for her deflowering.

Robinson Crusoe

Gabriel Betteredge uses Robinson Crusoe as a prophetic text for his life, and often reads it while smoking tobacco. Robinson Crusoe is one of the first novels about early British imperialism—Crusoe leaves England and conquers a foreign, exotic territory. Taken together, the novel and the tobacco—a crop of English colonies—stand as symbols of the imperial domination that England unthinkingly enjoyed over its own colonies.

Godfrey's Disguise

Godfrey's facial disguise—making him look dark-complected with a black beard and hair—stands as a fairly obvious symbol for his own duplicity in leading a double life. The dark-complexion that Godfrey has chosen also serves as a symbol for the willingness of some of the English characters to believe that the Indians—and not one of their own countrymen—were responsible for the theft of the diamond.