Leak entertains Stephan with stories from his memory but whenever Stephen listens to them, he feels as though he is less of a man for being interested which demeans the way he sees himself. The image of what is expected to be a man “[As he] observed the easy strength of these men, the more certain he was that he was that he could never become a man” had been imprinted in his mind because he was surrounded by people that he was expected to live up to and become. His father expects him to become strong and work as a pulp cutter.
Stephen sees the image of what he is supposed to live up to and because of it, “he was expected to scorn now that he was becoming man” compelling him to abandon his childish nature. Nolan emphasizes on the internal conflicts’ that Stephan has within himself by creating a kind of push and pull scenario for Stephan to overcome. On one hand, the stories that Leak tells Stephen keeps him entertained and happy but on the other hand, Stephan is expected to live up to his father expectations and fill in his shoes.
He is forced to choose between his own desires which are his child-like side or adapt to the conformity to gain his father’s respect. Theme: ‘”You try to hard kid. ‘ The Pollack murmured. ‘You act as if the saw were the most important thing in the world. “‘ One of the targeted themes of the story was that becoming a man isn’t everything. Throughout the first half of the story, Nolan showed that Stephan had internal conflict within his own mind as he had a difficult time denying his identity for the acceptance of his father, but as the story progressed, with the help of Leak, he began accepting who he is.
He began to consider what Leak had to say and thought about something other than what his father wanted. He began thinking of his own desires and choices instead of having such a narrow mind and thinking of being something other Han being a man just because his father wanted him to. He accepted the fact that being a man isn’t ‘the most important thing in the world”. Nolan shows us the importance of being able to think for yourself and fighting against conformity and pressure allowing the open mind of possibilities and alternatives. Stephan sees that he can be more than just a pulp cutter.
He also sees that he is trying too hard to be something he is not, which was what created that internal conflict within himself and comparing his own inadequacy to another. Symbol: “In our house in Transpolar, there were glass roses. Pretty little flowers made of red glass. My mother was very proud of them. She would let no one touch them… When the first bomb fell, farther down the street, the glass roses were shaken from the mantel and they fell on the floor and broke in a million pieces. ” ‘There is not much room in the world for glass roses” This quotation shows Nolan allowing the destruction of a beautiful glass rose.
Through Leak’s stories, Nolan uses the glass rose as a representation of Stephens innocence as it is considered beautiful and kind like the glass rose. As Stephen struggles with his inner conflict between manhood and childhood, e is torn between conformity and his innocence. When Leak said “the glass roses were shaken from the mantel and they fell on the floor and broke into a million pieces”, Nolan was talking about Stephens innocence and possibility of a broken childhood, if it were to be shaken, it would “[brake] into a million pieces”.
This shows that if there were to be instability with Stephen, such as manhood and the pressure of it, it would overcome the fragility of his innocence and destroy the beauty of his identity, desires and himself. The glass rose also represents the friendship that Leak and Stephen have. When we think of a glass rose, we think of love and beauty and because Leak acts as a shining beacon of hope for Stephen and that creates a beautiful friendship. Stephen learned to become more than what his father wanted him to be by acknowledging the fact that he “was very proud of them”.
Stephen came to the conclusion that Leak was his friend and that means he should stand up for his friend. By doing so, Stephen overcame his inner conflicts whether he should follow in his father’s footsteps or his own. Stephen also acknowledges that “there is not much room in the world or glass roses” so once he overcame his weakness, he was able to prevail onto better things such as pursing his desires within himself. Setting: “Streaks of daylight were appearing on the black forested, snow- shrouded horizon.
The wind had fallen somewhat but it was still raw enough to lacerate Stephens temples” The setting Nolan created inferred that Stephen was isolated with nothing but negative influence and pressure from his peers and especially his father that is forced upon Stephen. The story is placed in a dark isolated forest where Stephen is forced to work every day in it but with “streaks f daylight appearing on the black forested, snow-shrouded horizon. ” It is used as a beacon of hope that shines in the dark for Stephen when everything else seems so bleak and misguided.
The forest is used as kind of a sense of a barrier or shield for Stephen between him and the outside world as “the wind had fallen somewhat but it was still raw’. Stephen s perception of himself his fixated in the reflection of others but the light not only shows him hope but it also shows that when in the forest, Stephen feels as though his dreams are valid even in the dark. Throughout the day, Stephen is forced to face the exasperations in his father’s eyes when his father sees Stephen as ‘not a man’ creating an emotional impact on him.
By creating the setting in the forest, it is Stephens way of trying to escape all the expectations and what he is supposed to live up to. Point of view: “He thought of the dozens of trees he would have to fell before the end of the day, millions of trees he would have to fell before he died. For as long as he lived, he would kneel beside a tree, a slave to the monotonous rhythm of the pulp saw’ Throughout the story, Nolan slowly progressed with expressing more and more of Stephens point of view. In the beginning, it showed that it was as if Stephen didn’t have a point of view to begin with.
Everything was so fixated with his father’s perspective on things that it blinded his own vision of his own dreams. This quote not only shows Stephens point of view but it also shows Stephens feelings “for as long as he lived he would kneel beside a tree, a slave to the monotonous rhythm of the pulp saw. Stephen projects the thought of having to follow in his father’s footsteps in a negative light displaying a small sense of emotion, he feels as though the life he is living isn’t the life he wants but rather he life that his father has built up for him and that worries him.
The quotation shows that Stephen doesn’t want to be a part of the pulp cutting crew his entire life. Stephen sees that if he were to keep following in his father’s footsteps, he would only be “a slave”. This shows that Stephen began thinking for himself instead of thinking of what was best for his father. It was what shifted the internal struggle between what he wanted and what pleased his father to the realizations of what he needed for himself and how he was going to achieve his goal.