And the Mountains Echoed

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The Div’s Bottle Symbol Analysis

The Div’s Bottle Symbol Icon

After the div forces Baba Ayub to choose between his own happiness and that of his favorite child, Qais, it gives Baba Ayub a small bottle of liquid, and tells Baba Ayub to drink it. The contents of the bottle eventually make Baba Ayub forget that he ever had a son named Qais, or had to make the choice of whether or not to sacrifice him to the div. The div’s bottle thus symbolizes one of the key themes of And the Mountains Echoed: the human ability to forget. That Baba Ayub needs to drink from a bottle is ironic—as we see in the later chapters of the novel, humans don’t need magic to forget their unsavory pasts: without any help, they are capable of forgetting almost anything. And yet the div’s bottle isn’t entirely successful at making Baba Ayub forget his son. Like the other characters in the novel, Ayub occasionally feels a brief “flash” of his past, which he’s powerless to understand or interpret. If the bottle at first seems to symbolize one’s ability to forget, it ultimately becomes a symbol of one’s remarkable power to remember.

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The Div’s Bottle Symbol Timeline in And the Mountains Echoed

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Div’s Bottle appears in And the Mountains Echoed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Interconnectedness Theme Icon
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...will be punished in hell forever. In response, the div throws Baba Ayub a small bottle, and tells Baba Ayub to drink it when he returns to his village. (full context)
Time, Memory, Forgetting, and Art Theme Icon
Compassion and Selfishness Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...he finds his wife and family waiting for him. Baba Ayub drinks from the div’s bottle, and immediately forgets about his visit to the div. He forgets that he saw Qais,... (full context)