Small Potatoes Essay

692 words - 3 pages

Small Potatoes

Symbols

1. The Flowers: Throughout the story the reference to flowers is
consistently made. Within the first paragraph Nancy Lord states, "I
don't do it enough anymore, traipsing through with an eye for rose
hips or spiders snare with its lump of fluttering, tormented moth."
This establishes a pattern evident throughout the story based on the
symbolism of flowers. The flowers represent the intensity and lack of
intensity within the friendship. In the spring the friendship blossoms
as the flowers do, flowers have seeds which signifies the future of
the friendship. The flowers are connected to the symbolism of the
change of seasons, for example in the fall they slowly die, as the
friendship does. Nearing the end of the story she places dead flowers
on the table as a way of accepting her friend may not return to
Alaska.

2. The Seasons: The seasons are the most prominent symbol in the
story. In the summer the relationship flourishes, in the fall it
slowly dies which leads to it being nonexistent in the winter until it
finally begins to grow in the spring. The seasons are a metaphor for
change within the relationship. Within the first few paragraphs a
reference to the seasons is made; "That first summer, working together
in the cannery, I lived in my tent and you lived in your van". The
summer signifies positive growth within the friendship. In the fall
the friendship is slowly dying, "Now that the cold has come, causing
the country to lie down and curl up around itself, it's easier to get
through here" this indicates that things are slowing down. Nancy Lord
then reminisces about the good times she had with her friend during
the past season.

3. The Potatoes: The potatoes initially symbolize the strength of the
friendship; nearing the end of the story they signify the ultimate
loss of the friendship. The first reference, "I helped you dig
potatoes when the plants lay limp over the hills and the soil was cold
in our hands; they were small that year, the season short. Perfect for
boiling, you said, content with what you had" this indicates the
relationship is strong and both women are satisfied. The last
reference to potatoes, "but I...

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