What is the suitcase a symbol for in Bud, Not Buddy?

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In Bud, Not Buddy, the suitcase, or what is inside of it, is symbolic of Bud's family and his search for identity. The reader meets Bud when he is ten years old and living at the Home, an orphanage.The only connection Bud has with his past is contained within the suitcase: it contains a blanket, rocks that are written upon, flyers of Herman Calloway and his band, and a picture of his Momma. As the story progresses, Bud leaves a foster family and ends up traveling in search of his father, who he mistakenly assumes is Herman Calloway.

During this journey to find his family, Bud carries the suitcase, his most prized possession. However, it is what is inside the suitcase that is priceless, and it confirms his identity to his grandfather, Herman Calloway. When Calloway sees the rocks, the flyers, and the picture of his daughter, Bud's heritage is revealed. After this revelation, Bud realizes he has finally found his family and his home. At the end of the novel, he can finally unpack the suitcase, which had been exchanged for a saxophone case earlier. He spreads the blanket on his bed and tacks the picture of his mother on the wall. He is home. Bud has matured, and the saxophone case with the saxophone, his future, is proof.

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Bud's suitcase symbolizes his transient lifestyle as he travels from Flint, Michigan to Grand Rapids in search of his father, as well as everything that Bud considers important in life. Bud carries a blanket, an old tobacco bag with rocks inside, flyers depicting Herman Calloway's performances, extra clothes, and an envelope with his mother's picture inside. These items have particular significance to Bud and represent his connection to his family and past. The items inside the suitcase also contain Bud's memories, which comfort him through difficult experiences and guide him towards Herman Calloway, who lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Throughout the novel, Bud carries his suitcase everywhere he goes and never leaves it behind. Bud's suitcase is essentially an extension of himself, because it contains his dearest memories. Overall, Bud's suitcase symbolizes his lifestyle and everything that he considers important in life.

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