Red Queen

by

Victoria Aveyard

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Earrings Symbol Analysis

Earrings Symbol Icon

Mare wears mismatched earrings throughout the course of the novel. Even as her life changes dramatically, the earrings anchor her to her past, symbolizing her background growing up in the Stilts with a poor Red family. The earrings are significant to Mare not because they are valuable but because they were given to her by her three brothers, Bree, Tramy, and Shade. All three have been conscripted for army service by the time the novel begins. It has become a family tradition for each to give a set of cheap earrings to Mare and her younger sister, Gisa, by which to remember them. Three times now, Mare has pierced her and Gisa’s ears so that they each have one earring from each brother. Significantly, Mare’s poor piercing ability usually causes their ears to drip red blood afterwards, visibly marking Mare and Gisa as members of the lower class. Even after the bleeding has stopped, the earrings linger to represent the fact that Mare and Gisa bleed red.

When Mare leaves her home and goes to live at Summerton, she does not have any earrings to give Gisa. She has been saving up for a set to give her sister when she is conscripted at age eighteen, but her move to the royal palace happens a year earlier than this. Instead, Mare must simply tell Gisa that she loves her and hope that her sister remembers her. Mare’s anxiety about the tenuousness of her relationship with her family manifests in her refusal to let the royal maids take her earrings; she allows them to otherwise make her over entirely, but she retains this symbol of her true background. Her desperate clinging to the earrings offsets her inability to provide such a tangible symbol of her relationship with Gisa. By adopting the role of a Silver and living in the royal palace, Mare is risking not only her life but also her connection to her sister and the life they have shared.

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Earrings Symbol Timeline in Red Queen

The timeline below shows where the symbol Earrings appears in Red Queen. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
Revolution vs. Stability Theme Icon
...Upon leaving, each of them left Mare and her younger sister, Gisa, a set of earrings to split to remember them. Mare is saving up to give Gisa a set of... (full context)
Chapter 8
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
...red blood dripping onto Shade’s shirt from the poor ear-piercing job she did with the earrings Shade gave to her and Gisa. Mare’s memories fade to images of the Choke, where... (full context)
Chapter 9
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
...so that she will never actually take the throne. The maids try to take Mare’s earrings, but she refuses to let them. (full context)
Chapter 25
Biological Determinism and Social Inequality Theme Icon
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Revolution vs. Stability Theme Icon
...they have agreed to meet Farley. Mare’s legs shake with nerves. Farley gives her an earring from Kilorn. Mare pierces her ear with the earring, letting it draw blood. The earring... (full context)
Chapter 27
Trust and Betrayal Theme Icon
Power and Degradation Theme Icon
...while Mare cries about everyone she has endangered. She is glad that she has her earrings with her until the end. (full context)