Stienbeck Essay

This essay has a total of 1140 words and 5 pages.


John Steinbeck, a 20th century novelist, was the recipient of numerous awards including
the Nobel Prize. Steinbeck, a conservative that valued the old America, could produce
pages of beauty followed by pages of sheer trash writing using specific characteristics,
which his work is characterized by. John Steinbeck's work is characterized by symbolism
and allegory, which can be seen in his novels The Pearl, The Grapes ofWrath, and his short
story "Flight."

In his short story, "Flight," John Steinbeck uses many examples of symbolism, which is one
way you can characterize John Steinbecks' work. Symbolism can be a person, place, or thing
used to portray something beyond itself. The most repeatedly used symbol in "Flight" is
the color black. In literature many authors use the color black to represent death. In his
short story, "Flight," Steinbeck has numerous examples of color symbolism. A few examples
are the black handle on the long blade, Pepe's black hair, and the black jerky. Another
example may be found when Pepe puts on his fathers black coat, which represents death.
When Pepe puts on the coat he is literally covering himself with death. Another fine
example is the trail in which Pepe travels. Steinbeck describes the path as a well-worn
black path. By traveling on this path he is in fact taking the road of death. Furthermore
Pepe's appearance also helps foreshadow the ending. Steinbeck describes him as having a
black hat that covers his black thatched hair. Pepe is also described as being dark, lean
and tall. Another example is Pepe's shack. The shack is described as weathered and very
old. It casts a rather large shadow to the Northeast. The darkness of the shadow
symbolizes death in the home. As we can readily see, the authors use of black symbolism in
the story tells us that the main character, Pepe, is impending death (pg. 225).

Another form of symbolism that Steinbeck utilizes, which is also in "Flight," is nature
symbolism. Throughout the story he uses nature to symbolize a variety of things. An
example of nature symbolism is water, which is used to represent life. Some examples in
the short story "Flight" are Pepes' water bag that he hung over his horses' shoulder,
which began to leak, symbolizing Pepes' life leaking away. Another example is

when Pepe was traveling he started out close to the river and got further and further away
as he traveled, symbolizing getting further away from life (pg. 225).

Direction is another symbol Steinbeck uses, which is in "Flight" as well. In "Flight"
direction is used to symbolize positive and pejorative effects. North and East are
generally "good" directions. Many people feel this came about when the early man saw the
sun rise in the East. On the contrary, the directions South and West are generally "bad"
directions. Basically this is because the sun sets in the West. The direction up, which is
also the way to heaven is generally "good," while down, the direction of hell, is
considered to be "bad." An example of this form of symbolism can be found when Pepe is
returning home. Pepe looks at his "weathered little shack" and notices the shadow. The
shadow is heading in the direction Northeast. Even though the directions North and east
are "good," the fact that the shadow is there turns them "bad." This means that evil is
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