The Birds

by

Daphne du Maurier

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The Wireless Radio Symbol Analysis

The Wireless Radio Symbol Icon

The wireless radio to which Nat and his wife repeatedly turn for guidance ultimately comes to represent both their isolation and the broader failure of human technology to withstand a natural attack. A radio broadcast is what first informs the family that the attacks are not limited to their coastal town, and it gives the Hockens false hope that outside help will come, emphasizing their misguided faith in human ingenuity. But though the radio initially connects the Hockens with the outside world, broadcasts stop within a day of the attacks and Nat and his family are afraid to turn on the radio too often lest they drain its battery and permanently isolate themselves, which suggests the hubris of humanity’s reliance on manmade technology to protect them against nature. At the end of the story, as hawks appear to be breaking down his front door, Nat turns the static on once again, perhaps hoping for a final sign of human contact in the face of death.

The Wireless Radio Quotes in The Birds

The The Birds quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Wireless Radio. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the New York Review Books edition of The Birds published in 2008.
The Birds Quotes

The announcer’s voice was smooth and suave. Nat had the impression that this man, in particular, treated the whole business as he would an elaborate joke. There would be others like him, hundreds of them, who did not know what it was to struggle in darkness with a flock of birds.

Related Characters: Nat Hocken, The Radio Announcer
Related Symbols: The Wireless Radio
Page Number: 73
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Birds PDF

The Wireless Radio Symbol Timeline in The Birds

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Wireless Radio appears in The Birds. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Birds
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Hubris and Humility Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of War Theme Icon
Reason vs. Chaos Theme Icon
Back at the cottage, a radio broadcast relays that an enormous flock of birds has brought London to a halt. The... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Hubris and Humility Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of War Theme Icon
Reason vs. Chaos Theme Icon
...survive for a few days, still hoping that further instructions will come through on the radio. They turn the wireless on and listen as the announcer declares a state of national... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Hubris and Humility Theme Icon
Reason vs. Chaos Theme Icon
...anxiously awaits a promised 7:00 a.m. news bulletin, but when Nat’s wife turns on the radio nothing comes through but static. Nat wonders how much longer the radio battery will last,... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of War Theme Icon
Reason vs. Chaos Theme Icon
The Hockens listen to the radio, which continues to play only static, even on foreign stations. This leads Nat to suggest... (full context)