45 pages 1 hour read

Emily Giffin

Something Borrowed

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2005

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Symbols & Motifs

Rachel’s Thirtieth Birthday

Rachel’s 30th birthday, which she celebrates at the start of the book, is a symbol of her insecurities, as well as of the major life changes that she is about to experience. Rachel begins her birthday celebration with a sense of disappointment and cynicism. She once dreamed of being married and having children by this point in her life, and “can’t help feeling uneasy” (3) as she heads into the birthday single and unfulfilled. Her birthday reminds her of what she’s failed to accomplish, and she continues to carry the weight of the pressures she’s put on herself into her relationship with Dex.

However, Rachel also views her birthday as “an ending and a beginning” (3). It is a defining moment in her life, as it marks the start of her transition from one way of thinking to another. Dex goes home with her the night of her party, and Rachel launches into a new way of thinking about her life. After only a few months with Dex, Rachel is amazed “at how much has changed in such a short time” (321). Being 30 now means something completely different to her; she not only knows that “you make your own happiness” (321), but she’s figured out how to achieve it.

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By Emily Giffin