The Picture of Dorian Gray

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White and Red Symbol Analysis

White and Red Symbol Icon
Colors symbolic of purity and innocence and sin and gore populate the story at crucial moments. One of the first noticeable examples is when Sybil’s Vane’s body is described as “little” and “white”, emphasizing her ruined purity. Dorian’s devolvement into a monstrous, unnatural figure is stained with bloody colors. Increasingly, as we move towards the climax of the novel, redness seems to gather until Dorian starts to see blood-like marks on his portrait. These color symbols create a visual surface in the text, showing us clearly the difference between right and wrong and giving the action a kind of painted effect.
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White and Red Symbol Timeline in The Picture of Dorian Gray

The timeline below shows where the symbol White and Red appears in The Picture of Dorian Gray. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
The Mortality of Beauty and Youth Theme Icon
Surfaces, Objects and Appearances Theme Icon
Art and the Imitation of Life Theme Icon
Influence Theme Icon
...body”, Dorian orders Basil to stop. He says that the incident is over, he has mastered the emotion of it, and they must no longer think about it. Basil can’t believe... (full context)
Chapter 13
The Mortality of Beauty and Youth Theme Icon
Surfaces, Objects and Appearances Theme Icon
Art and the Imitation of Life Theme Icon
...body, and is suddenly filled with new terror at its appearance, at its stillness and long white hands . He locks up the room and goes down to the library. He says to... (full context)
Chapter 20
The Mortality of Beauty and Youth Theme Icon
Surfaces, Objects and Appearances Theme Icon
Art and the Imitation of Life Theme Icon
...these things come from vanity. As he becomes more and more distressed, he notices that red stains have grown on the painting, like blood. He considers making a confession. His own... (full context)