Symbolism In The Bear, By William Faulkner

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Opposition is Just an Idea “The Bear” written by William Faulkner is a short story told through the eyes of the main character, Isaac “Ike” McCaslin. The short story portrays how “Ike’s childhood is structured on the promise and then the reality, of the participating in the autumnal hunt in the big woods” ultimately to capture the bear named Old Ben (Anna Priddy Go Down, Moses). Through symbolism, characterization, and imagery, William Faulkner proves that one should not let opposing views alter his thinking. Within “The Bear,” Faulkner uses symbolism to show how Ike has grown as a character and how he does not let the views of others change what he believes. While in the woods at their campsite, Sam Fathers explains that Ike “will have …show more content…
Throughout the selection, Ike acts based on what “Sam ha[s] taught him” (Faulkner 199). Fathers symbolizes the father figure in Ike’s life and his motivation to complete the quest. The writer makes it evident that “Sam Fathers seems to bequeath to” Ike (Anna Priddy). Due to the impact Fathers has on Ike, he develops an independent nature. Unlike others, Fathers’ impact on Ike is positive and does not interfere with the mindset he already has. During the hunt, Fathers makes clear that “[i]t was the watch and the compass” hindering him from his encounter with Old Ben (Faulkner 207). The watch and the compass are symbolic because they are tools that humans think they need in order to survive in the wilderness. The tools make “Ike become[] increasingly aware of the destructive impact of humans on the vanishing wilderness” (Robert C. Evans). Because Ike lets go of what is holding him back, “he [sees] the bear” (Faulkner 208). Ike’s experience with the bear symbolizes his first true encounter with nature and fear because of this, Ike begins to understand why he is against the …show more content…
When Isaac goes on his journey, he can already imagine what the campsite will look like; the camp features “a paintless six-room bungalow set on piles above high-water” (Faulkner 195). The description of the camp enables the reader to grasp an idea of how Ike perceives the scenery around him at ten years old. Ike’s scenery is “green with gloom, if anything actually dimmer than they had been in November’s gray dissolution” (Faulkner 205). The images Ike describes shows that his views have not changed since his youth. During Ike’s younger years, handling a gun was of no use to him since “tasting in his saliva that taint of brass which he smelled in the huddled dogs” made him nervous and fearful (Faulkner 202). Faulkner paints a vivid picture of aging when he receives a new gun that is “silver-inlaid triggerguard with his and McCaslin’s engraved names and the date in 1878” (Faulkner 204). As he begins to clearly understand what is going on, “Ike’s sense of outraged humanity as well as his comprehension of the McCaslin legacy are what required him to repair the damage…heirs” (Kinney 240). His view on ownership of land continues to remain the same “because he loved the woods who owned no property and never desired to” (The Hill Country 103). Ike’s determination to go out “in the green and soaring gloom of the markless wilderness,” shows how he has matured but still

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