H. G. Wells Questions and Answers

Start Your Free Trial

Explain the symbolism in the short story "The Beautiful Suit" by H.G. Wells. What is the meaning of the story?

Expert Answers info

beateach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write681 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

There are a number of distinct symbols in H.G. Wells’ short story “The Beautiful Suit” that contribute to its meaning.

The most obvious symbol is the “beautiful suit” itself. The mother insists the little man reserve the suit for special occasions, and she goes to great lengths to teach him how to fold it and preserve it in pristine condition. She covers its shiny buttons and places tissue paper on spots that would show wear. The little man is limited to wearing the suit to church on Sundays that are perfect. He dreams of wearing the suit but respects his mother’s wishes.

But his mother told him "No." She told him he must take great care of his suit, for never would he have another nearly so fine; he must save it and save it, and only wear it on rare and great occasions.

The suit symbolizes waiting for the perfect moment to experience life. The little man pines away waiting for the perfect opportunity to wear what was supposed to be his wedding suit, while life passes him by....

(The entire section contains 558 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial