Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Letters to Brenda
The fluorescent bulbs are being brought up by Leo because he does not like how they do not dim before they die, but just suddenly die. This is a symbol because it foreshadows the end of Neil and Brenda's relationship, that ends without warning.
"No sense in carrying dreams of Tahiti in your head, if you can't afford the trip"(120). This illustrates how the boy matured and started to understand that he couldn't go to Tahiti because he couldn't afford it. This symbolizes that rich people are allowed to imagine more because they have the luxury of money, while the poor do not have that luxury.
"Maybe I could learn to become a Patimkin with ease"(120) is similar to "You'll find out. You'll stay there too long you'll be too good for us"(76). This highlights how Aunt Gladys worried that Neil would distance himself from his family, and how that is becoming true because Neil wants to become a Patimkin.
"She did not look like Brenda, at least for the first minute"(124) contrasts "It was Brenda and she sounded as though she was sweating considerably"(9). This illustrates how Neil's relationship has deteriorated because she has become a different person that he can't recognize anymore.