Symbolism In Star Food By Ethan Canin

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“Star Food” Symbolic Analysis “What is my purpose in life? Who should I take advice from and who should I not?” If you have asked yourself these questions, congratulations, you are human! Every human since the dawn of time has reflected on these questions. In the short story “Star Food” by Ethan Canin, the main character, Dade, finds himself asking these questions after a recent shoplifting development in his parent’s grocery store, A middle-aged woman stole small bits of food from the store, like a stale loaf of bread and artificial pineapple juice. Dade considers himself responsible to catch the woman, but his parents give him conflicting advice on the subject. At the end of the story, Dade lets the woman go for the same reason that she doesn't have a name, speak, and isn’t the main character. The woman is merely a symbol for Dade’s internal conflict, and she represents both how Dade is pulled between his parents’ contrasting ideas, and she also shows that by letting the woman go, Dade makes peace with his conflict. The roots for Dade’s conflict lies primarily with his parents and their …show more content…

At this point in the story, Dade has decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps and catch the woman, and when he tells his mother this, she “[began] to weep behind the counter” (Canin 16). Dade, sure that “[his] life was making sense,” gripped the woman by the arm when she came in and took her to the stockroom (Canin 14). But during this, Dade began to feel “flushed with remorse” for both the woman and his parents, so he released her. Dade now has both physically and figuratively let go of his parental conflict, and makes sure not to choose a side. Dad doesn’t win because the woman was released, and Mom doesn't win because Dade gave up on his dreams just minutes

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