'Animal Imagery In Charles Baxter's Gryphon'

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Dependence On Individuality: Animal Imagery in Charles Baxter’s “Gryphon” People should be free to express their individuality. A person, whose existence is dependent on the community and the boundaries set by the community, will never have the ability to move above the common existence. In the story “Gryphon” by Charles Baxter, Tommy, an elementary school student in the rural community of Five Oaks believes that his life is boring, but he is convinced by the uniqueness of substitute teacher Miss Ferenczi. Miss Ferenczi came in as a substitute teacher for Mr. Hibler’s fourth grade who is suffering from cold. On the day of Mr.Hibler’s class Tommy and his classmates while waiting for the substitute to come…show more content…
Tommy who is convinced by the teaching of substitute teacher tries to defend her when Carl shows disbelief in her. Miss Ferenczi want the students to have their own imagination as their rural community has that effect on them for following traditional ways. Tommy a kid who wants to life to the fullest realize this and gets in argument with Carl over this when he said, “I didn’t believe that stuff about the bird” (45). Tommy convinced by Miss Ferenczi feels like a bird that the kids should have the freedom and knowledge about everything, should not be restricted to the boundaries set by the community. Tommy tries to convince Carl to believe in Miss Ferenczi, he is fighting for the idea that if he follows Miss Ferenczi he would be able to use his imagination and people would start to believe him. Miss Ferenczi’s teaching turns Tommy irrespective of other students into a person who wants a society without conformity. When Tommy got back home from school, his mother asks him to finish his chores but he went to look for a word in the dictionary, “Griffin: ‘a fabulous beast with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion” (46). After looking for the word in the dictionary and finding out that Miss Ferenczi is right Tommy feels top of the world, he has built self confidence in him and feels like flying in the sky with proud similar to a way as an eagle flies in the sky. Next day, when Miss Ferenczi came in for the lecture she just starts to talk and drifted to the topic that there are some places and creatures on Earth like sea and animals at the bottom that have never been studied and if say the fish is taken out “the fish explode” (46). Tommy and his classmates see themselves in the fish as they are from a community that has boundaries set out
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