The fairy tale of The Nightingale and the Rose, by Oscar Wilde published in 1990, is a story of the consequences of not appreciating creation. It is also a story of men not appreciating the sacrifices that women make. This passage, from The Nightingale and the Rose, foreshadows the consequences of not a appreciating nature. It then symbolizes pregnancy and childbirth, a sacrifice many women make that men take for granted.
The first part of the passage uses dramatic irony to foreshadow the major event of the student being unappreciative if the nightingales sacrifice and throwing the rose away. We know that the nightingale is going to give up her life so the student can find love. Yet the student does not appreciate this sacrifice. Here he is describing her as an artist “without any sincerity. ” He says, “she would not sacrifice herself. She thinks merely of music and everybody knows the arts are selfish. ” We the reader know she is about to make the biggest sacrifice of all, her life.
Her life presents a rose that the student eventually throws away because the one he loved does not want it. He never shows any appreciation to the nightingale, and gives up on love altogether. Just as the student does not appreciate the Nightingale or her sacrifice in The Nightingale and the Rose, the giant from The Selfish Giant, also by Oscar Wilde, does not appreciate the children who play in his garden. He builds a wall to keep them out, consequently this wall also keeps out the spring, who has no interest in being in the garden with no children to play in it.
The student did not appreciate God’s creation of the nightingale and her sacrifice there for he was not allowed to appreciate the feeling of love, just as the giant did not appreciate God’s creation, the children, therefore he was not allowed to appreciate the delightfulness of spring. The second half of the passage symbolizes pregnancy and childbirth, with the Nightingale representing the mother and the rose representing the fetus and newborn child. It begins with, “and when the Moon shone in the heavens the Nightingale flew to the Rose-tree, and set her breast against the thorn.
All night long, she sang with her breast against the thorn, and the cold crystal Moon leaned down and listened. All night long she sang, and the thorn went deeper and deeper into her breast, and her life-blood ebbed away from her. ” We see child conception symbolized here, when “her life-blood ebbed away from her” is the moment in which the child is conceived. Next we hear of the Nightingale who “sang first of the birth of love in the heart of a boy and girl. ” This love is usually for their mother. When children are born, the first person they love is their mother, being as they were a part of her for nine months.
As the Nightingale sings her songs “on the top-most spray of the Rose-tree there blossomed a marvelous rose, petal following petal, as song followed song” This symbolizes the formation of a small, pale fetus in the mother’s womb . “The shadow of a rose” symbolizes the literal connection the fetus has with its mother before it is born, just as a shadow is attached to one’s foot. The mirror is the genes that the mother passes to her child, in order for her child to resemble her. “So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn. The Nightingale pressing closer against the thorn is the mother sacrificing more for her child. Mom and baby begin to have an even stronger connection as the thorn gets closer to the nightingales heart. “‘Or the Day will come before the rose is finished,’” symbolizes the mother having to sacrifice more to protect her baby and prevent a premature pregnancy. The story continues “and a delicate flush of pink came into the leaves of the rose. ” The rose grows as a fetus in the womb and becomes a flush pink, like the color of the skin and lips on the child. But the thorn had not yet reached her heart. ” It is not time for the mother to give birth yet because the child just like the rose has more growing to do. “And the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. ‘Press closer, little Nightingale,’ cried the Tree, ‘or the Day will come before the rose is finished. ’” Again, we see the mother having to sacrifice more to protect her baby and prevent a premature pregnancy. “So the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and the thorn touched her heart, and a fierce pang of pain shot through her.
Bitter, bitter was the pain,” the day that the child is to be born has come. The mother goes into labor and begins to feel the pains of contractions. “…and wilder and wilder grew her song, for she sang of the Love that is perfected by Death, of the Love that does not in the tomb. Death here symbolizes the end of a pregnancy, when a child is born and takes their first breath. This sentence is saying how love is perfected with the birth of a child. “And the marvelous rose became crimson, like the rose of the eastern sky.
Crimson was the girdle of petals and crimson as a ruby was the heart. ” This symbolizes the fetus who became a beautiful living child, with its own feature and color in its face. The child’s heart like the heart of the rose is flowing with red blood, received from its mother. The story continues, “but the Nightingale’s voice grew fainter, and her little wings began to beat, and a film came over her eyes. Fainter and fainter grew her song, and she felt something choking in her throat. Then she gave one last burst of music. This symbolizes a woman enduring the pain of giving new life, and it with that one last push like the nightingales “one last burst of music” that new life is born. “The red rose heard it, and it trembled all over with ecstasy, and opened its petals to the cold morning air. ”
The baby takes its first breath and begins to cry letting everyone know that he or she is now another human life in the world. “Echo bore it to her purple cavern in the hills, and woke the sleeping shepherds from their dreams. It floated through the reeds of the river, and they carried its message to the sea. The sound of a baby’s first cry is such a happy moment that everyone is happy to hear. The cry reaches all the family members, and extended family member. All of the pain and suffering that this nightingale and the mother endure is a major sacrifice that they make. Men see this as what women are supposed to do, not as a sacrifice. Just as the student throws away the rose with no appreciation, men are unappreciative of the pain and sacrifice women endure to give new life. This passage captures the sacrifice, as well as the appreciation that has been forgotten by the student and men alike.