What does the deer at the railway tracks symbolize in the novel "The Body" by Stephen Iing?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The deer is an interesting image.  Prior to the deer's entrance, the conception of identity we are presented is a shared notion.  In other words, everything is about the boys.  Their travels, the coin toss, running away from Chopper, walking to find the body, getting attacked by the beavers, and the stories are all about all of them.  Even their personal experiences are shared, as they all know everything about one another.  The deer is the first moment where the story is actually about Gordie. No one else experiences it and he doesn't tell anyone else about it.  This might represent an aspect of individual freedom, something that he alone will experience that no one else will.  When you examine how King describes it and how Gordie interprets it, pay attention to how this isolates him from everyone else.

bajingo | Student

Well. The thing is the deer at the railway could possibly symbolize the loss of innocence... as the deer had in fact just been raped by a 12 year old boy. This is shown when Gordie says 'my stomach and genitals filled with a hot dry excitement' this passage foreshadows the raping of the deer. This is further supported by his detailed descriptions of the deer's features. Gordie's lack of understanding his wrong doing, was portrayed when he described the deer as 'some sort of gift'. The deed was then confirmed through the words 'she didn't look back at me and didn't need to; i was frozen solid' as well as ' the rail started to thrum under my ass and bare seconds later the doe's head came up'. The word solid was also selected specifically, and is a euphemism. King used specific language as a technique in order to create strong imagery. In this scene Gordie was used in order to convey the feeling of regret 'in daylight it seemed more foolish than interesting-almost embarrassing. Best forgotten'. Im addition to this the scene foreshadows further sexual encounters within the book as seen in chapter 21.

These quotes and issues were identified within chapter 20.