Explain the symbolism and significance of the pumpkin seeds in Valley Song by Athol Fugard.

The pumpkin seeds in Valley Song can come to symbolize many things within the story, such as the growth of one's dreams and ambitions and the growth of a country during a period of social change. A seed is the beginning process of transformation and requires cultivation in order for the desired result to be achieved, just like dreams and cultural systems.

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The idea of growth and fertility is central to the entire play and it applies to people as well as agriculture. Athol Fugard begins Valley Song with the Author holding the pumpkin seeds to indicate that this elderly white man is a farmer, not just a writer. He understands and...

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The idea of growth and fertility is central to the entire play and it applies to people as well as agriculture. Athol Fugard begins Valley Song with the Author holding the pumpkin seeds to indicate that this elderly white man is a farmer, not just a writer. He understands and values his country as a person who is directly connected with the land as fertile soil, not merely as territory. The pumpkins that people grow in the Karoo area not only stand for sustenance that they get from the land, but they are also a local item, so the fruit symbolizes the distinct regions as well as the whole country. Furthermore, the majority of the farmers are black or “colored,” so the white man is showing his solidarity with people who have previously been divided by race—including the important character of Jonkers or Buks. Ironically, seeds that people classified as nonwhite grow have the name "Flat White Boer."

The idea of ongoing growth is contained in these seeds as well. Now that the country has moved away from its racist policies, a new society will emerge. The Author tells the audience that the seeds have been planted and that “spring is … well underway.” At the same time, however, these everyday crops can only do so much. They represent potential that must be nurtured, like Veronica’s dreams of “adventure and romance,” which cannot be made only out of pumpkin seeds. A beginning is just that, and the longer-term vision the people share will require constant care.

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