What is the conflict in “Oranges” by Gary Soto?

The conflict in the poem “Oranges” is the apprehension and internal struggle of a young boy as he goes on a first date with a girl. His feelings of anxiety about how the day may or may not go are present throughout the poem.

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The conflict in Gary Soto's poem “Oranges ” is the nervous excitement and apprehension of a young boy on a date. This uplifting poem chronicles the events of the boy’s first outing with a girl. He is anxious about this first date, and the internal conflict about how...

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The conflict in Gary Soto's poem “Oranges” is the nervous excitement and apprehension of a young boy on a date. This uplifting poem chronicles the events of the boy’s first outing with a girl. He is anxious about this first date, and the internal conflict about how it may or may not go is present throughout the poem.

It is a very cold day when he walks to the girl’s house to call upon her. Consider how he could have been discouraged by the weather but instead remains determined. The warm porch light on her house welcomes him. The frigid day represents the way in which the date might go, but the young boy has cheery, bright oranges in his pocket that help calm him. A dog barks at the boy until the girl greets him, and they begin walking; his internal turmoil is quelled for the moment.

They walk to a local drugstore, where the boy offers to buy the girl some candy. She is pleased and chooses chocolate; again, the boy gets nervous. The chocolate costs ten cents, and he only has five cents in his pocket. Consider how at this point, the date could have gone wrong and been very embarrassing for the boy. However, a kind saleslady recognizes the boy’s dilemma when he puts five cents on the counter, as well as an orange, and she graciously accepts the boy’s form of payment. Consider how the saleslady's actions help him regain his confidence and continue his date.

As the boy and girl walk from the store, the boy refers to her now as “my girl” and takes her hand in his. The date is going well.

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