On the Sidewalk Bleeding
“On the Sidewalk Bleeding”, by Evan Hunter is a story about a boy from a gang, getting murdered in a dark alley, by members of the rival gang. It is written in the third person omniscient point of view. The story focuses on the theme of realization of one’s true identity. This theme is depicted with the help of several literary devices such as symbolism, to create depth in the meaning of the story, thoughtful use of irony and characterization elements, which create clarity in the readers mind about the characters thoughts and situation.
Symbolism plays a major role in highlighting the character’s realization of his true identity as the purple jacket, which is the main symbol in the story, represents labels put on people in society. A young couple sees Andy in pain and the boy rushes towards him but soon denies him help. “He saw the lettering on the jacket then. THE ROYALS.” shows the reason the couple did not want to get involved. The jacket being a symbol of prejudgment, determines the way society sees Andy. The name on the jacket defines him to the passers by and the person inside does not matter to them. The Royals being written on the jacket causes the couple to rethink the consequences of helping him. Instead of asking him his name or what had happened, they make a judgment that Andy could only mean danger and trouble, because of the gang name on his jacket. The jacket, the symbol of prejudice, leads to his death. Right before he dies “It seemed very important to him that he take off the purple jacket.” At this point he realizes that he is dying and needs to be known for who he really is, instead of for the name on his jacket. He comes to realize in his last moments, that his true identity is his own name. Hence he tries to take off the label, literally and metaphorically, that society has given to him. The removal of the jacket symbolizes Andy’s desire and attempt to get rid of the stereotypical label of The Royals and...
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