1.1.4 Nightingale and the Rose


Love, Urban vs Rural (Man vs Nature, Wealth and Class)

This story is about a nightingale who sacrifices herself for a boy’s love, but he was unable to appreciate it.

The bush is placed directly underneath the student’s window. This is significant because it reflects on how the young student doesn’t appreciate what he can see.

Literary Techniques:
Symbolism: Red rose

  • The student is in love with the professor’s daughter, and he needs one red rose in order to dance with her. The red rose symbolizes true, pure, and passionate love.
  • Furthermore, the rose is later described with “crimson”. This color is referenced with a ruby, connoting how rare this rose is.


Repetition: When the Nightingale hears what the boy wants she says: “here at last is a true lover” and “here indeed is the true lover”
The nightingale said this suggesting he is sure the student is a true lover. In the second repetition, it shows the nightingale had settled its mind. However, this questions on the result of this student, on whether he is a ‘true lover’ or not.

Simile: Passion has made his face like pale ivory’
This reveals how much love he has for the lady. The nightingale later on in the story turns ‘pale ivory’ too because of the passion it has for the man.

Tone: “asked” “said” “whispered”
The green lizard, butterfly and daisy asks why the young student is crying. There is a decrescendo in tone, getting softer and more silent, emphasizing the wonder towards why the young student “weep”. It makes a lighter and airy atmosphere, similar to a fairytale.

Sibilance: “But the Nightingale understood the secret of the Student’s sorrow, and she sat silent in the oak-tree, and thought about the mystery of love.”
It is used to emphasize the sympathy towards the student on being able to go to the ball with his ‘true love’ and that it is a ‘secret’

Personification: “the tree shook its head”
It symbolizes as a gentle rejection. This action is repeated through many trees. Also brings about a fairytale-like aspect to story.

Simile: “as white as the foam of the sea”
it gives a visual imagery to the reader, emphasizing how it is the opposite color of red.

Irony: “What is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?”
It foreshadows that perhaps the heart of a bird is much wiser than the heart of the student. From the story, it contradicts to this as the bird had sacrificed itself to a rose for a student; whereas the student simply gave up on what he thought was love.

Oxymoronic Ideas: ‘Love that is perfected by Death.’
-This shows how sacrifices have to be made in order to retrieve something you desire. This contrasts with how the student thinks as he believes that he is able to buy love off the lady.
-This also suggests that love requires sacrifice yet the student and the professor’s daughter rather gives up true love for books and wealth

Irony: “The Student looked up from the grass and listened, but he could not understand what the Nightingale was saying to him, for he only knew the things that are written down in books.”
This contrasts to how the Nightingale had proposed to sacrifice himself for one red rose when the Student doesn’t understand. In fact, the nightingale is the true lover, not the student.

Symbolism: “He only knew the things that are written down in books” How is this symbolic?
Suggesting he knows nothing of love, just plain knowledge that can be learnt through reading in books, not experiencing in life.

Repetition: “All night long she sang” ???
it emphasizes the pain of sacrifice the nightingale went through for a rose. It emphasizes how long it the nightingale had to sing.

Synthetic parallelism: “She swept over the garden like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed through the grove.”
The symbolism of “shadow” suggests how the nightingale is always in the dark and the student couldn’t see the amount of sacrifice and effort made for him.

Simile: “It is not half as useful as logic.” Not a simele – A comparison
He gives up on love, contrasting to what the Nightingale had thought of him. It is ironic that the Nightingale sacrificed for nothing. It suggests that the Student knows nothing of love and that returns to what he knows most.

Irony: “So he returned to his room and pulled out a great dusty book, and began to read.”
A “great dusty book” shows how he rather avoids something such “impractical”.pmale.


Imagery: “He threw the rose into the street, where it fell into the gutter, and a cart-wheel went over it.’ This emphasizes the waste of the sacrifice of the nightingale made for the student. It symbolizes how the love in the student’s hand is a waste and the true meaning behind it is not understood, since the student doesn’t know the sacrifice that is made for the rose to blossom.

There are fairytale elements in this story such as:

  • the characters
    • green lizard: represents cynical person
    • butterfly: emphasizes on curiosity
    • daisy: represents purity
    • the trees: personified for rejection to the nightingale



  • Love
    • Love is fickle, the student quickly changed his mind after he realised he could not provide the girl with what she wanted.
    • Love became insignificant and useless just like the rose that “fell into the gutter”. The rose symbolised love.
        • Logic is more important: ‘What a silly thing love is… it is not half as useful as logic’
        • The Student goes back to studying ‘philosophy and study metaphysics’

  • Wealth and class
    • The girl was materialistic and her love is measured in terms of wealth: “‘The chamberlain’s nephew has sent me some real jewels, and everybody knows that real jewels cost far more than flowers.’
    • Love is determined by class: “After all, who are you?  Only a student.’

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