What is the symbolism in the short story "Boys"?

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In Rick Moody ’s short story “Boys,” the symbolism might involve the house or the father. One could argue that the house symbolizes the boys’ lives as boys. In the story, the house contains the boys. Almost nothing the boys do is separate from the house. The boys call each...

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In Rick Moody’s short story “Boys,” the symbolism might involve the house or the father. One could argue that the house symbolizes the boys’ lives as boys. In the story, the house contains the boys. Almost nothing the boys do is separate from the house. The boys call each other names in the house, drink beer in the house, and listen to loud music in the house. Even when one of the boys is away, he’s still in the house, as his letters enter the house’s mail slot. At the end of the story, the boys leave their house. Now, in the last sentence, since they’re finally separate from the house, they’re “no longer boys.”

As for the father, it’s possible to contend that the dad symbolizes growing up. Throughout the narrative, the father’s presence seems to reinforce the boys’ identities as boys. They go fishing with their father and treat him as if he’s “the Second Goddamned Coming of Christ Goddamned Almighty.” After the father dies, the boys stop being boys, which suggests the dad symbolizes the end of their boyhood and the start of another stage in their lives—perhaps manhood.

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