Captain Corelli’s Mandolin

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin


Louis De Bernières

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The Bedcover Symbol Analysis

The Bedcover Symbol Icon

Not long after Pelagia and Mandras get engaged, Pelagia begins crocheting a decorative cover for their marriage bed. Because Pelagia's mother died before she could properly teach her daughter various needlecrafts, Pelagia struggles with the bedcover, ripping it out and re-crocheting parts of it over and over again. At this point in the novel, the bedcover symbolizes Pelagia's internal struggle of whether to accept her future as a wife or to strive for a future as an educated woman and, possibly, a doctor. Years later, when Pelagia becomes engaged to Corelli and is suddenly able to complete the bedcover, it indicates that Pelagia made the choice to do both, which she believed she'd able to do as Corelli's wife. However, when Corelli never returns for Pelagia and the bedcover spends nearly forty years forgotten in the hidden room of the old house, it suggests that Pelagia's belief that she'd be able to have it all was misguided. Even if the choice wasn't an active one on Pelagia's part, she was still denied both domestic bliss and fulfillment from a professional career in medicine. In this way, the bedcover represents both Pelagia's stolen dreams and the liminal space she occupies between being properly feminine and successfully masculine.

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