In "The Prison," what is the symbolism of the candy store in Tommy's life?

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Because Tommy never wanted the candy store or his marriage to Rosa—he "wouldn't spit on a candy store" the first time his would-be father-in-law offered it to him—it seems that this life, including both the store and Rosa, is the "Prison" of the story's title. Though Tommy had gone away...

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Because Tommy never wanted the candy store or his marriage to Rosa—he "wouldn't spit on a candy store" the first time his would-be father-in-law offered it to him—it seems that this life, including both the store and Rosa, is the "Prison" of the story's title. Though Tommy had gone away to Texas for a while, when he returned home, "it was all arranged again and he, without saying no, was in it."

Rosa even changed his name from Tony to Tommy, and Tommy lost all his dreams of escaping the "tenement-crowded, kid-squawking neighborhood" in which he'd grown up. By now, he realizes that his life at twenty-nine years of age is a "screaming bore." Therefore, the candy store seems to symbolize his failed dreams and his imprisonment within the life he had hoped to escape. It may seem kind of appealing to some—a candy store is fun, isn't it?—but, for Tommy, it represents the end of his hopes for a better life.

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