Would you say James is a man in the story "The Sky is Gray"? Why or why not?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

James is a young boy on the verge of adolescence when the story occurs. His mother loves her son but she is more concerned wit teaching him tough moral lessons to make him "strong". At the beginning of the story, she tries to make James kill two birds in order to show him what needs to be done in order to survive. James is not ready for that lesson. But when they go to town, James encounters human kindness in the form of Helena and Alnest, who want to help mother and son with no thought of getting anything. At first, Octavia, James' mother, refuses their help, trying to teach her boy to be tough and independent. However, once Helena asks James to take out an empty trashcan, Octavia reneges and accepts a free meal from Helena. James learns from both experiences. He must be tough but there is also kindness in the world. At the end of the story, he is able to face the dentist without complaint, knowing that there are times he must be strong and times it is all right to accept help from others.