The Drowned World

The Planetarium Symbol Icon

The planetarium is one of the buildings that Dr. Bodkin remembers from his youth living in London, and Strangeman believes that Bodkin has treasure of some sort hidden there. While the lagoon is full, the planetarium is a symbol of potential and rebirth. It holds the potential for treasure, and for Kerans during his dive, it holds the potential for him to die, embrace what he sees in his dreams, and descend into the "time seas." However, after Strangeman drains the lagoon, the planetarium takes on the exact opposite symbolism. The sight of it filled with mud is one of the major reasons why Kerans is horrified by the new world before him, as it's no longer an incubator for life, but proof that Strangeman's hope for the world is in direct opposition to Kerans's vision of a future in which humans have ceded their spot as the dominant species.

The Planetarium Quotes in The Drowned World

The The Drowned World quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Planetarium. 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 Liveright Publishing edition of The Drowned World published in 2013.
Chapter 8 Quotes

"Dr. Bodkin, did you live in London as a child? You must have many sentimental memories to recapture, of the great palaces and museums." He added: "Or are the only memories you have pre-uterine ones?"

Related Characters: Strangeman (speaker), Dr. Robert Kerans, Dr. Alan Bodkin, Beatrice Dahl
Related Symbols: The Planetarium
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 9 Quotes

For some reason the womb-like image of the chamber was reinforced rather than diminished by the circular rows of seats, and Kerans heard the thudding in his ears uncertain whether he was listening to the dim subliminal requiem of his dreams.

Related Symbols: The Planetarium
Page Number: 126
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 11 Quotes

No longer the velvet mantle he remembered from his descent, it was no a fragmenting cloak of rotting organic forms, like the vestments of the grave. The once translucent threshold of the womb had vanished, its place taken by the gateway to a sewer.

Related Symbols: The Planetarium
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Planetarium Symbol Timeline in The Drowned World

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Planetarium appears in The Drowned World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
5. Descent into Deep Time
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
...University quarter yesterday where his father used to teach. He mentions that he saw the planetarium, the shell-like dome of which is still underwater. Bodkin says the sight of it seemed... (full context)
9. The Pool of Thanatos
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
...completely clear of iguanas and alligators. Kerans looks down through the clear water at the planetarium below. He remembers that he hasn't been in the water in ten years, and he... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Two crewmembers make a preliminary dive down to the planetarium. A third goes down in a suit with a telephone transmitter, which he uses to... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Strangeman checks in with Kerans over the radio, and Kerans begins to move towards the planetarium. Inside, Kerans sees that, aside from rust, it's entirely untouched by the outside world. As... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
...find the safe, but Kerans ignores him and sits down in a chair overlooking the auditorium. He thinks the auditorium looks like a womb, and Kerans can't decide if he's listening... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
...feel as if nothing is more important than preserving the "sky" he sees in the dome, which he supposes might be the sky seen during the Triassic period. He begins to... (full context)
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
Looking up at the dome, Kerans feels as though the water pressure is soothing and that his blood is merging... (full context)
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Science and Psychology Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
As Kerans returns to the Ritz later, he thinks about his experience in the planetarium. He wonders if he did indeed try to commit suicide, or if Strangeman had tried... (full context)
11. "The Ballad of Mistah Bones"
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
Birth, Renewal, and Doom Theme Icon
...dams around the lagoon, piled up on the streets. Kerans, Beatrice, and Bodkin approach the planetarium. Kerans is almost afraid to approach it. When they reach its doors, Kerans peers in... (full context)
12. The Feast of Skulls
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Memory vs. The Future Theme Icon
...feels like a defeated Neptune. The crew begins to chant, and as they pass the planetarium Big Caesar puts the alligator head on Kerans's head. The cart gains speed again, rolls... (full context)