Northern Lights by Philip Pullman / What is the symbolism of daemons

Essay by ernmHigh School, 12th grade February 2004

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'Northern Lights' by Philip Pullman revolves around Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon who are journeying North to rescue their friend Roger from an evil organization run by Lyra's estranged mother. Set in an alternate dimension , daemons are a huge factor in this story with their symbolism allowing for a better understanding of the story and characters for both readers and characters.

People and their daemons are connected and cannot survive apart. 'Lyra exulted in it , feeling with him as he flew urging him mentally to provoke the old tillerman's cormorant daemon into a race.' The phrase 'feeling with him as he flew' shows that they feel the same things even though they are different. Trying to play with the other daemon shows connotations of a childish nature which in turn , I feel , shows the comfort between person and daemon. I think that a person and their daemon are two parts of the same thing.

They are two parts of the person. But what parts? "Exactly what I knew you'd say. Now stop nagging." The prediction in what Pantalaimon says shows the psychic connection between the two. Using the word 'nagging' emphasizes the fact that daemons are the consciences as that is what they do , they nag your decisions to make sure they are morally correct. Daemons are a person's soul , conscience and share all their emotions with the person while a person is everything else.

These two parts grow together and change as they become older. They become more mature and settle down together. "Ah , they always have to settle and they always will. That's part of growing up. There'll come a time when you'll be tired of his changing about , and you'll want a settled kind of form for...