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The Symbol of the Center in The Floating Opera The heart may be the dominant symbol in The Floating Opera, more essential even compared to the symbol of the showboat of the novel's name. From starting to end the book is definitely richly populated by references to the center on both a literal, physical level, and a figurative, symbolic one. In the 1st case, literal references are created to Todd's center condition. In the next case, the center plays two symbolic functions; not merely does it provide as symbolic of Todd's psychological and non-rational side, however the frailty of Todd's center acts as a correlative for the fragility of most human existence. This paper will look at several illustrations from The Floating Opera that show this multi-levelled use of the center. Hearts make an early on appearance in the written text, in the 1st chapter, when Todd describes his center condition; a "sort of subacute bacteriological endocarditis"1. This problem predisposes Todd towards myocardial infarction (coronary attack), and Todd writes consequently, "What which means is that any day time I might fall quickly dead, unexpectedly - before I total this sentence perhaps, perhaps two decades from now."2 Although this might appear to become a purely literal device, Barth is using Todd's heightened knowing of the delicateness of his own life as an exaggerated symbol for the vulnerability of most human life. This early concentrate upon the center continues because of the centrality in the novel's plot of Todd's decision to destroy himself, and his subsequent "change of mind". At the core of the decision to suicide is definitely Todd's realisation that his lifestyle provides been governed by his center (his feelings), despite his best initiatives to live by will, cause and intellect: "My center was the master...