Symbolism and Steinbeck: An In-depth Analysis of Flight
The use of symbolism in John Steinbeck's classic short story, Flight, effectively foreshadows the outcome of the story and helps presage Pepe’s tragic demise. Through the symbolic messages of color, direction, and nature, Steinbeck provides the reader with evidence as to what is to happen later in the story. When writing Flight, he included many hidden messages, which can only be noticed if analyzing deeply, as he wrote them with extreme subtlety. This was so while there were clues leading to the ending, the conclusion would not be glaring. This can be seen in his symbol of direction as it represented positive and negative effects. This could come from a shadow on a barn or the rising of the sun, each play a part in Steinbeck’s symbolic circus. The same is seen in his use of nature in the story. While they may be hard to pick up on, each is important to the story and in conveying Steinbeck’s individual writing style.
The symbol seen most often throughout Flight is the color black. In most cases in literature, the color black is often associated with death and, as the readers would find out later, is true in this story. The first 'black token' comes as Pepe’s knife. A theme seen repeatedly in Steinbeck’s stories is the presence of a past influence that his characters cannot escape; this is particularly true in Flight. Pepe’s father is killed before the story begins by falling in the fields on a snake. He passed down his black knife to Pepe, which becomes one of his most prized possessions of his as well as a key aspect to the action of the story. Pepe is constantly playing with the knife, a sign of his childish characteristics, and has it with him at all times. The knife is first of many black symbols to be seen as the story progresses. Another example is when Pepe puts on his father’s black coat, yet another past possession, which represents death. When he puts it on, he is...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document