What are symbols in We the Animals?

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There are a number of symbols in We, the Animals, which, in the opinions of some critics, are somewhat obvious and overdrawn. Take for example the symbol of the hole. One day, Paps digs a hole in the garden after yet another fight with his wife, although his motivations for doing so are unexplained. In any case, the boys call the hole a trench and take turns lying it like fallen soldiers. They do this until the "war" between their parents is over and they kiss and make up after another one of their explosive arguments. In that sense, the hole, doubling-up as a wartime trench, represents the fraught relationship between the narrator's parents.

Another symbol in the book is Paps' truck. This comes to represent the assertion of Paps' masculinity in the wake of his being fired. After losing his job, Paps' confidence and sense of self-worth are at an all-time low. So to restore his damaged masculine pride he buys himself a brand new truck, a massive, cobalt-blue affair with a sparkling chrome bumper and thick black rubber tires. The boys are thrilled by the truck, but Ma is horrified by what she sees as a waste of money, and as nothing more than an extension of her husband's manhood.

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