What is the theme of "Waiting for a Turn" by Ken Lipenga?

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The defining of a theme can be difficult if one is left to examine a text on his or her own. Given that all readers come to a text with different backgrounds, beliefs, and morals, the universal defining of a text's theme can be somewhat impossible. That said, many texts contain multiple themes. This insures that a reader will pick up on at least one the themes the author intended.

In the case of Ken Lipenga's "Waiting for a Turn," a few different themes can be identified: death, personal spirituality, and violence. While these themes can be supported, one theme which seems far more prevalent is that of rebirth. This theme is symbolized with the image (both figurative and literal) of fire. The narrator of the story loses the one thing his entire life is built around: his tailoring shop. Once his business fails, everything comes crashing down around him. The fire, which destroys his home and business, allows him to experience a rebirth--a period where he can begin to start his life anew.