In the movie Simon Birch, what symbol could represent Simon?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the most interesting of ways, I think that the symbol of a tree might be one of the most compelling to represent Simon.  On one hand, given Simon's physical state, a tree might not be the most representative symbol.  Yet, I think that it works because, just as a tree must learn to grow on its own and stand out, Simon learns to do just this.  At the same time, a tree gives shade to others and renders some type of shelter for others.  This is something that Simon does with his courage and commitment his beliefs.  Simon ends up doing this in saving the lives of the kids on the bus at a critical moment.  Just as a tree must start out from the smallest of beginnings, Simon must physically begin from the smallest of positions in order to emerge and grow into a towering figure of self- sacrifice and honor.  The tree might be a good symbol for Simon because of how he provides a sense of cover for Joe, who must learn from Simon what it means to stand out on one's own and how to embody the ideas that help to formulate one's sense of identity in the world.  It is to this end that a tree can be a representative symbol for Simon.


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