Why does Bud think the man in the flyer is his father in Bud, Not Buddy?

Bud believes the man in the flyer is his father because his mother attached sentimental value to it, and he remembers her being emotionally moved by the flyer. He also recalls seeing his mother stare at the flyer for a long time, which suggests the person meant a lot to her. As an orphan, Bud holds onto the hope that Herman E. Calloway is his father. Later in the story, Bud discovers that Herman is actually his grandfather.

Expert Answers

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There are several flyers announcing performances by Herman E. Calloway's band that were left behind by Bud's mother when she passed away. Bud cherishes these flyers and carries them in his suitcase wherever he goes. He has good reason to believe that the man in the flyer is his father because his mother cared enough to hold onto the flyers and attached sentimental value to them. Bud mentions that his mother used to keep several of the flyers on her dressing table and remembers her closely examining one of the flyers. He recalls her being extremely upset and staring at one of the flyers for an extended period of time. In addition to his mother attaching sentimental value to the flyers, Bud also feels an attachment to Herman's picture. Looking at Herman's picture gives Bud hope that he will one day reunite with his father.

As a ten-year-old orphan, Bud is naïve and allows his imagination to run wild. The memories of his mother's response to the flyers are enough evidence for Bud to consider Herman E. Calloway his father. He also finds the similarities between his last name, Caldwell, and Calloway interesting and entertains the possibility that his father may be using an alias. Bud travels to Grand Rapids in hopes of reuniting with his father and ends up introducing himself to Herman E. Calloway. After spending time with Herman and his band, Bud discovers that Herman is actually his grandfather.

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