Symbolism In Bless The Beast And Children

750 words - 3 pages

Throughout the novel Bless the Beasts and Children, by Glendon Swarthout, symbolism is used frequently to show a weakness in a character or to fulfill a purpose in the novel. The most apparent weaknesses in the bedwetters was their need for radios to help them sleep. The hats portrayed each characters personality and background in some cases. Also, The Box Canyon Boys Camp is in itself a symbol representing American society in general.
The radios are the first case of symbolism shown in the novel. They are used by each and every one of the bedwetters at night to help them go to sleep. To them it helps to imagine someone is right there with them when the radios are going. On some nights, like the one at the start of the novel each of them have their radios going full blast, this shows the fear each of them have at the beginning of the novel. The children aren’t afraid of being so far from home or from their parents because each of them are plenty used to that. All of their parents go on trips away from home for long periods of time or when they are home just simply neglect them. The radios help represent something being there for them when they are afraid because their parents never are. Towards the end of the novel when the boys are herding the buffalo out of the cages it is very easy for them to throw the radios at the buffalo without missing them. This was put into the novel to show to the readers that the boys no longer need the radios in order to sleep at night and that they will be fine on their own now because they can do things for themselves. At that point the reader knows that they will be fine on their own.
     Hats were worn by all members of the bedwetters and each hat symbolized something about them. For Cotton his choice of headgear was a military helmet that he strapped under his chin when he was about to do something dangerous or “manly”. He chose this form of headgear because he was very interested in Vietnam, which was going on at the time that this book took place. Cotton also intended on enlisting when he turned 17 with dreams of becoming a...

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