The Little Stranger


Sarah Waters

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The Plaster Acorn Symbol Analysis

The Plaster Acorn Symbol Icon

The plaster acorn represents the germ of Faraday’s obsession with Hundreds Hall. When Faraday is a child, he visits Hundreds with his parents and falls in love with its magnificence. While there, he sees a plaster border that decorates one of the walls. While no one is looking, he pries a plaster acorn from the border and puts it in his pocket. The acorn is Faraday’s way of keeping the experience of Hundreds Hall with him at all times. Acorns are seeds and therefore symbolize growth and potential. However, Faraday’s acorn does not last long because Faraday’s mother destroys it in a fire when she finds out about it. The destruction of the acorn suggests that Faraday’s desire to live in a place like Hundreds Hall will never come to fruition. As it turns out, Faraday’s mother is right. Although he tries, Faraday never achieves the material wealth found on display at Hundreds in his childhood. However, the seed of his desire never goes away; even in the closing pages of the novel, Faraday still finds himself returning to Hundreds and wishing he owned it.

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The Plaster Acorn Symbol Timeline in The Little Stranger

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Plaster Acorn appears in The Little Stranger. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Class Envy Theme Icon
...servant is not looking, the boy uses his pen knife to prise a tiny plaster acorn from a wall decoration. He puts the acorn in his pocket and does not mention... (full context)
Class Envy Theme Icon
After stealing the acorn, the boy returns outside to his parents. While outdoors, the boy worries Colonel Ayers will... (full context)