Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews September 28, 2023
September 21, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
*See discount terms and conditions.
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
Just before her mother’s death, Ellen senses that there is a terrible storm coming, foreshadowing the suffering to come. This image of a storm and of rain appears throughout the book, namely during her mother’s burial, when there is a severe rainstorm. Ellen later wishes that her father will be struck by lightning. These images of storm and rain are symbolic of pain and suffering, as they always appear in conjunction with grief.
The ocean represents an almighty power and control, as is evident when Ellen wonders if her grandmother has ever seen the ocean. Immediately, she knows she has not, as such a self-righteous, controlling woman would be humbled to have witnessed the ocean’s powerful and awful force. Ellen finds the ocean particularly intriguing, as it is so mysterious in its immense depth, and she finds similarity in herself and such a brooding force—she feels as though she is churning inside, as the mighty ocean does.
Unlike her paintings of the brooding ocean, Ellen’s cat painting is symbolic of shallowness and vanity on the part of Dora and Nadine. The painting is not to Ellen’s taste, and, though she knows Dora and Nadine will think the cats are cute, she personally would much rather paint something with significance. The painting of the cats carries no meaning and no emotion, both of which are very important to Ellen, and, thus, it symbolizes the shallowness and importance of pleasant appearances that underlie many of her opponents.