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62 pages 2 hours read

Kathleen Glasgow

You'd Be Home Now

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2021

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Symbols & Motifs

Water

Content Warning: This section of the guide discusses substance abuse and overdose.

Water commonly symbolizes life, rebirth, and purification. However, water can also be a powerful force of destruction and trauma. When the novel opens, Emory lies trapped in a wrecked car as the rain pours down, the deluge being the cause of the accident. Furthermore, since the town of Mill Haven was built on the back of the textile industry which harnessed the power of the creek to move their machines, water emblemizes the power to create. However, each time Joey and Emory see the Mill, visible from Joey’s room, it reminds them of their family’s complicated legacy. The Mill not only polluted the creek water but when it closed, it left many people unemployed. Now, the creek has become a refugee camp for people excommunicated from Mill Haven society and Emory’s family must reckon with their role to play in helping the people who now make the defunct Mill their home.

Though water causes the tragedy, it becomes for Emory a source of comfort throughout the novel as she processes her physical and emotional trauma. For many people who experience physical limitations or who are recovering from an injury, swimming and water exercise allow them the ability to move their body safely as the water supports their body weight.

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