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Ranvir Dhesi Mr.Depew ENG3U November 10th , 2014 Initiation Symbolism and Conflict In the short story Initiation written by Sylvia Plath the protagonist Millicent Arnold is undergoing a long and difficult set of trials and tribulations with the hopes of being accepted into the most elite sorority at her high school. One of the challenges has Millicent asking people on the bus what they had eaten for breakfast. While doing this she learns about the Heather birds which essentially do whatever they want to. The Heather birds becomes a symbol of freedom and independence that helps develop the internal conflict that Millicent has on whether or not she should join the sorority. Millicent questions whether or not she should be joining the sorority shortly after her conversation with the man on the bus. The man explains to Millicent that Heather birds “ on the mythological moors and fly about all day long singing wild and sweet in the sun…”(Viewpoints, 205). This quote shows how free and independent the Heather birds are as they are living wild and free with no worries. Millicent now thinks about becoming more like the Heather bird in terms of independance and does not see herself wanting to be a part of the sorority as much as she had previously wanted to. However, her mind is not completely made up yet and she continues to participate in the sororities challenges. She contemplates her future and

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knows that her friendship with her friend Tracy would be put in jeopardy if she joins the sorority because she would be at the top of the high school hierarchy and would not be allowed to associate with people below her. At this point Millicent is completely torn between what she wants to do and has very limited time to make up her mind. She wants to be part of the popular group but at the same time does not want to lose her friend Tracy in the progress. As the day of judgement comes closer and closer Millicent makes up her mind. She realizes that the sorority was not all what she thought it would be like. Millicent now sees the sorority as an exclusive social group that gives girls a false sense of superiority over everybody else and no longer wants anything to do with it. She realizes now that because of this label that was put on her it may have been the only reason Herb even talked to her in the first place. Millicent questions if Herb actually likes her for herself or if it was just to benefit from her soon being a part of the sorority. This leads Millicent to think about the Heather birds that live care free and far from any drama created by the other birds. She sees the sorority girls as “...pale grey­brown birds in a flock ,