Briony and Lola’s relationship is classic. Each envies the other with polite contempt. Lola is at the age where she is not quite an adult but certainly feels like she can take on the role. However because she is not part of the adult world, Lola is forced to “step down” in companionship to Briony. I think Briony understands this whole explanation of what Lola is doing and dislikes that she is the fall back option. She is torn though-she knows about Lola’s past/recent family history and that she must be civil. Lola, on the other hand, is able to hide all of her thoughts and emotions that she doesn’t want others to see. She is difficult to read when the group is practicing the play and I didn’t know if she was on her brothers’ side or Briony’s. Later, however, when her brothers scratch her, she puts on a huge act to get attention and sympathy from Briony. Overall, I think Briony and Lola are bored with their lives, both are children in a mature household, but they refuse to recognize their connection and bond over it-in their minds, this “race to the top” separates them even more and they are in a battle to see who can crack into the adult’s social circle first.
I thought of the vase as a symbol of Cecelia and Robbie’s relationship. When it breaks, it represents the impossibility that they can get back together. The vase has been through battle and carried over long distances, just like their relationship-they went to the same school, on the tip of getting together. Cecelia says the vase is their families most valuable possession and she handles it with care, requiring the flowers to fall perfectly in it. The vase bridges them and before it can ever be put to use, it is broken. Robbie’s response is confusing-he knows Cecelia is above him and that he is in over his head-and yet he gives no apology, offers no help. He suspects that they feel the same way about each other but knows it would be inappropriate to act. Similarly, Cecelia knows that Robbie is beneath her but can’t deny her feelings. She is wasting away her days hiding inside her house and trying her hardest not to think of Robbie. She is forced to face her true feelings though when the vase breaks; she can’t restrict herself from fixing what she knows is their last hope.