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Symbols in literature can affect the outcome of a story. According to Webster's

Dictionary, a symbol is something that represents something else by association. Symbols

affected the outcome in "Flight" by John Steinbeck and "The Life You Save May Be Your Own"

by Flannery O' Conner.

In "Flight" by John Steinbeck, a symbol affects the outcome of the story. "Flight" is a

story about a young man's (Pepe) coming into adulthood. Pepe's father had been killed in

previous years and had passed his lucky knife down to his eldest son, Pepe. Pepe had never been

mature, but his mother (Mama Torres) sought to change that one day. One afternoon, when Pepe

had been playing in the barn, Mama Torres called him over and told him that she had an

assignment for him. She said "You must ride to Monterey. The medicine bottle is empty.

There is no salt. Go thou now, Peanut! Catch the horse." So Pepe packed his clothes, and his

father's knife and went out on his journey. When Pepe came back from his journey, he woke

Mama Pepe in the middle of the night. He lit the candle, and it was then that Mama Torres

noticed a change in him. "He was changed. The fragile quality seemed to have gone from his

chin. His mouth was less full than it had been, the lines of the lips were straighter, but in his

eyes the greatest change had taken place." Pepe described stabbing a man with his father's knife

and said that he must run away to the mountains. Once again, Pepe packed his clothes and his

father's knife. Over the next few days Pepe fought the dangers of the mountains. One night,

Pepe lost his father's knife and then his will to live. That night, Pepe died. "And when at last he

Larkin 2

stopped against a bush, the avalanche slid slowly down and covered up his head."

The symbol in "Flight" is Pepe's Father's knife. The knife stood by Pepe throughout the

process of becoming a man. The knife served as a symbol of manhood being passed down in the

Torres family. When the time came, the knife helped Pepe to became a man. When the

knife was lost, his will to live and his desire to remain a man were also lost, along with his life.

The author does an excellent job of imagery in this story. It is important in a story based on

nature to provide descriptive language.

In "The Life You Save May Be Your Own" the symbol affects the outcome of the story.

The story "The life you save may be your own" is a story about a man (Mr. Shiftlet) who

wanders upon a ranch. As the man approached the ranch house, he sees an old woman and her



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