Examine the presence of symbols in "I'm Dreaming of Rocket Richard."

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the most significant symbols in the "I'm Dreaming of Rocket Richard" would have to be Rocket Richard. Richard is seen in the father's tattoo as well as in Mance's love of playing hockey.  Rocket Richard comes to symbolize a world that transcends the condition of what is around Mance.  On the ice, Rocket Richard represents greatness.  Rocket Richard symbolizes how Mance sees himself playing hockey, which comes to embody a world in which the realities of poverty, failure, and shortcoming can be defeated with the sound of the stick on ice, the puck hitting the back of the net.  Off the ice, Rocket Richard comes to represent an ideal of comfort and happiness that proves to be elusive.  When Mance's family seeks to settle in Florida, Rocket Richard reminds them of how far they are from their home in Canada.  Winters where palm trees, sun, and heat replace ice and hockey is where one sees the full power of Rocket Richard as a symbol.  It is this symbol that causes Mance to dream of greatness in Canada and yearning for it in Florida. 

Weather functions as another symbol.  The frigidity of Canada initially means coldness and a sense of poverty. The family struggles in Canada.  Yet, one gets the sense that they know who they are and their identity is intact.  There is financial crisis, but not a psychological one.  When the family seeks to make the move to Florida, a sense of displacement identity hits the family.  Mance struggles from an existential standpoint in defining himself.  He recognizes that his light might be better, but amidst the heat, his identity melts.  When the family returns to Canada, hit with both identity challenges and financial displacement that awaits them, the father accepts his fate with silence, almost with resignation.  Weather plays a symbolic role in both how frigidity and heat operate in regards to individual identity and psychological perception.

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I'm Dreaming of Rocket Richard

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