Student Question

What is the symbolism and significance of the pumpkin seeds in Valley Song?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Valley Song is a play by Athol Fugard. It features three total characters: The Author, Abraam Jonkers, and a black South African girl. The girl leaves her grandfather's farm and goes to the city to chase her dreams, while The Author is getting ready to retire from the theater and leave the city for the farmland where he grew up.

Pumpkin seeds are an important symbol throughout the play. They serve as an extended metaphor for change and for dreams. In order to turn the pumpkin seed into the pumpkin, the farmer has to put in lots of work. They have to spend time planting the seed, watering it, and tending to it. This lasts for a long time before they get a pumpkin. So, too, must we spend time tending to our dreams before they grow into realities. I think this is the point that Fugard wants to make by including pumpkin seeds in his play's opening scene. He asks us to think about dreams as things that you must tend to before seeing results. It's an apt metaphor and one that he carries expertly throughout the play to give us more insight into the dreams that each of these characters either has or had.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial