What do the stairways at G. T. Stoops's restaurant symbolize in Hope Was Here?

Quick answer:

One could say that the stairways at the front of G. T. Stoop's restaurant symbolize his welcoming nature. On the back of his menus is written, "Welcome, friend, from whichever way you've come. May God richly bless your journey," and the stairways represent this welcoming attitude.

Expert Answers

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The stairways at the front of G. T. Stoop's diner tell us a lot about him. For one thing, they are a very physical expression of his welcoming nature. This is a place where on the back of each menu is written the following:

Welcome, friend, from whichever way you've come. May God richly bless your journey.

The diner isn't called "Welcome Stairways" for nothing.

Despite his ongoing struggles with terminal cancer, G. T. doesn't allow his illness to get the better of him. He remains the same kind, decent, humble, selfless man he's always been.

The stairways, then, just like the name of the place they lead up to, are not just some cheap, cynical marketing gimmick designed to draw customers into the diner; they are an expression of G. T. Stoop's magnanimous soul.

There is something almost saint-like about G. T. In fact, he often gives the impression of being an angel sent down from heaven to do good and spread happiness. It doesn't come as much of a surprise that when G. T. sadly passes away, Hope feels a brush of angels' wings and senses those angels going up the welcome stairways, one from each side, to guide G. T.'s soul up to heaven.

In that sense, one could say that, as well as symbolizing G.T.'s welcoming nature, the stairways leading up to this diner also represent what lies in store for his soul after death.

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