What is the theme of Gary Soto's "The Bike?" 

The theme of Gary Soto's "The Bike" is children learning life lessons. This theme is portrayed through the story of a young boy riding his bike. He disobeys his mother's orders to stay on the street that they lived on and had to pay the price for his disobedience.

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In a nutshell, the lesson learned in this story is that actions have consequences and that instructions from those who care about us are for our own good. The theme here is children learning life lessons, and I doubt there's a single reader who can't recall a similar moment when...

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In a nutshell, the lesson learned in this story is that actions have consequences and that instructions from those who care about us are for our own good. The theme here is children learning life lessons, and I doubt there's a single reader who can't recall a similar moment when he or she disobeyed a parent as a child and lived to regret it.

Our protagonist in this story is a young boy taking his first steps towards independence, and in doing so, he defies his mother's instruction for him to stay on his street and not ride onto Sarah Street. He had been warned by his mother of hungry dogs that lived on Sarah Street, but he was just old enough to start taking his mother's cautions with a grain of salt. After taking some tentative steps closer and closer towards the mysterious world of Sarah Street, he takes the corner and goes exploring.

He lives to regret this decision and learns the life lesson to listen to his mother in two parts. First, when a young Sarah Street resident takes him up on the offer to ride over his leg with his trike, and second, when one of the Sarah Street dogs that his mother had warned him about makes his presence known.

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The narrator of the story “The Bike” is a five-year-old boy who is pretty excited about riding his bike up and down their block. For the first time, however, the little boy decides to ignore his mother’s warnings about the dangerous, vicious dogs that roam Sarah Street. He turns the corner into Sarah Street, “out of sight of his mother and the house.”

The boy is growing up and learning all kinds of things through self-discovery. He has done quite a few experiments to test whether the things that his mother says are really true. For instance, he points at a rainbow to see whether that causes freckles as his mother says it does. When he does not grow freckles, he decides that his mother does not always say the truth. This reinforces his experimental nature. Thus, on this particular day, the boy rides into Sarah Street to see for himself whether there really exist vicious dogs on the street. When he does not see any dogs, he starts to wonder whether this is, after all, just another “rainbow warning.” He spends some more time on the street playing on his bike. Finally, he sees another boy, his age, on a tricycle. He thinks that the boy is a “big baby” and dares him to ride his “trike” over his leg. He feels so much pain that he cannot even ride back home with both legs. The pain brings tears to his eyes. Before he is able to reach his street, he does hear the barking of a dog. He gets so scared that the legs of his pants get stuck on the chain of the bicycle. Therefore, even though he does not see any kid-biting dogs on Sarah Street, he learns that there is little to be gained from rebellious behavior.

The main theme of the story is disobedience and its consequences. The narrator disobeys his mother and experiences a lot of pain in the process.

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Gary Soto's short story "The Bike" is a first person narrative. The narrator, a five year old, is telling about a bicycle ride onto Sarah Street (a street named off-limits by his mother). The narrator tells readers about a few of his mother's thoughts (ones which are assumed to be old wives' tales or warnings). She tells him pointing at a rainbow will cause freckles. He points at them, apprehensively. As no freckles raise on his skin, the narrator questions some of his mother's ideas. 

Later, as the narrator is venturing out upon his bike, he recalls another piece of information of his mother's: hungry dogs with red eyes live on the street and bite little children with hardened throats (made hard by bone). Questioning his mother's warning, the narrator ventures onto Sarah Street. He finds nothing out of the ordinary, and he even tries to show off for another boy on a tricycle. He allows the boy to ride over his legs with the tricycle which ends up injuring the narrator (but he acts as if it does not hurt). 

Wounded ankle and spirit, the narrator decides to go home. As he turns the corner, a dog barks. Frightened, the narrator's pant leg becomes caught in the chain of his bike. The narrator falls to the ground. As he comes around the corner, the narrator's mother sees him. She is carrying a belt (in order to punish the boy). The story ends with the narrator taking complete blame for the injury and punishment. 

A theme is the central idea within a text. In regards to this text, one could argue that the theme is "mother knows best" (a colloquial saying which refers to the "fact" that parents know what is best for their children--typically used to point out the irony behind a child doing something, getting hurt, and the parent saying "I told you so"). The theme could also be knowledge or lack of knowledge (in regards to the parent knowing about limitations (knowledge) and children testing the limitations (lack of knowledge)). Therefore, you are correct in stating that the theme revolves around listening to one's parents. 

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