September 26, 2011 October 24, 2011
In Sharon Olds The Summer-Camp Bus Pulls Away from the Curb she states “With a pencil and two Hardy Boys and a peanut butter sandwich and grapes he is on his way, there is nothing more we can do for him” the narrator is sending her son off with what she thinks he will need not only for summer camp but for life.
She sends him away with two Hardy Boys books. This is relevant because the Hardy Boy characters are maturing and being aimed at a maturing audience. She wants him to mature during his time away from home. It may not be right away but she wants him to at least try to. To become more inquisitive when he is on his own. She wants him to learn while he is away, or just have something to do on the bus ride to the camp.
She sends him off with a pencil . A writing utensil yes, but also one that allows him to make mistakes and undo or fix them as well. Looking at this from another point of view one could say that she is acknowledging that he will make mistakes in life. Pen is out of the question due to the fact that ink is permanent and someone would have to scratch out or cover up the accident with it which suggests that she wants him to fix his mistakes. The mother (For the purpose of the analysis the narrator is female) also lists the other things she packed for him. Almost as if she is going over a list to make sure she specifically including those objects. She makes no mention of clothing or things for personal hygiene which suggests that she already knows that he can clean himself up. Instead she ops for books and food, or knowledge and sustenance.
The mother gives him a packed lunch. The peanut butter sandwich and grapes seems like an unfinished lunch, but remember that the mother knows that everything she prepared him for in life will be tested and that she has given him everything he might need. She may have gave him an unfinished lunch so that he...