What is the theme of "A Pacing Goose"?Like for example the theme of "The Most Dangerous Game" is morality.

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The theme of "A Pacing Goose" is steadfastness and change.  These seemingly contradictory ideas are illustrated as they concern a woman and a man, Eliza and Jess Birdwell.

Eliza is in harmony with nature and the seasons, adjusting quietly to changes as summer turns to winter and winter into spring.  Eliza nurtures her geese eggs in hopes that they will hatch, bringing new life with the coming of spring.  When only one egg hatches due to her husband's treachery, she is still happy, and thankful in a way that she will not have to raise more than one gosling only to see it eventually be killed for food.  When her beloved goose Samantha is stolen, she loses her temper momentarily, but recovers herself to clearly state her case before the judge, winning him over with her self-possession and sincerity.  With a steadfast nature, Eliza has carefully raised Samantha and knows her habits; Samantha is unique, a goose that paces among all the others who walk.

Jess, as a stereotypical male, wants to change his wife as well as the course of nature.  He hates the geese Eliza loves, and tries to prevent her from raising more by sabotaging her eggs.  He learns in the end to respect her gentle steadfastness and determination, however, experiencing a metamorphosis within himself.  By virtue of his ability to change, he shows himself to be special, one who paces while the others all just walk.

Check the enotes link below for a more complete discussion of themes in the story!

Read the study guide:
The Pacing Goose

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