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48 pages 1 hour read

André Aciman

Call Me By Your Name

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2007

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Symbols & Motifs

Peach

The peach is a symbol of impulsivity and permission to be vulnerable. Elio masturbates into the peach because it reminds him of Oliver. This moment is shocking to Elio because it’s not something he’s done before, and it is, after all, the sexualization of food. The masturbation into the peach is indicative of Elio’s intense desire for Oliver and his inclination that he shouldn’t attempt to control himself. Oliver eats Elio’s discharge out of the peach, which is a major symbolic moment in their relationship. Through this gesture, Oliver shows Elio that there is nothing Elio can do that would embarrass Oliver. This erases shame from their relationship. It gives Elio permission to be vulnerable and experimental. In using a natural metaphor of a fruit that has a definitive life cycle (seed, sapling, and tree giving birth to new fruit), Aciman emphasizes that their love is natural and authentic and will spawn new loves in their lives.

Literature

Literature is a motif in this novel. Elio loves literature and is nurtured in this love by his academic surroundings. His parents are intellectuals, and all their friends and associates are similarly interested in culture, literature, philosophy, music, and art.

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