Well, there are a lot of themes in the story. Here are the ones that stand out to me:
1) The importance of language. In Rye’s world, most people can’t speak or read, and this inability to communicate verbally has turned people into animals. Rye and the bearded man are able to have a human connection because of their verbal abilities. It is the bearded man’s humanity that ultimately gets him killed, but Rye’s hope for the future is rekindled when she finds the children, both of whom can speak perfectly. The final words of the story, “It’s okay to talk to me,” reinforce how important words are in even the simplest acts of empathy and fellow feeling.
2) The hidden identity. Rye is an outsider, or “other,” in...
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