The Ugly Transformation

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The Ugly Transformation John Steinbeck’s ‘Flight’ tells the story of a young individual who, although is portrayed as aimless, young, and naïve, attempts to make a name for himself in the world he lives in. ‘Flight’ is a man vs. society piece, one that gives us vital insight into how society can deteriorate an individual into a totally different individual through the course of his/her actions - in this case, for the protagonist Pepe. In many ways, what initiates this transformation is when Pepe kills a man with his father 's knife - instead of owning up to this dirty act like a responsible human being, he cowardly decides to flee into the rough mountainous terrain in hopes of redeeming himself. By him killing this man, his childhood innocence…show more content…
Another example of Pepe 's transformation is how he inadequately prepares for his journey beforehand, and ends up suffering the harsh consequences. In order to sufficiently prepare for a difficult journey such as this one, one must strategize and plan accordingly. Although he is very assuring and confident of his father’s belongings (knife, coat, and saddle), Pepe fails to realize that these objects are useless, and will serve no purpose for Mother Nature’s thrust. For example, when Pepe’s hand becomes infected from the granite rock, he has absolutely nothing to treat it with other than pressing spider webs against the wound. Instead of treating it with bandages or some sort of medicine, it only becomes more severe and spreads up his arm, “His hand was swollen and heavy; a little thread of pain ran up the inside of his arm and settled in a pocket in his armpit (Steinbeck 1024).” As this continues and escalates, he is barely able to stand on his own two feet, “His arm seemed to swell out and fall with every heartbeat. There was no position lying down where the heavy arm did not press against his armpit (Steinbeck…show more content…
Steinbeck’s ‘Flight’ masterfully describes how society can morally crush an individual and turn one into someone totally different – an animal who is left cold, and deprived of all once known attributes. This story also begs the question to the audience about manhood – what does it really mean to become a man? Does it warrant taking someone’s life in order to feel powerful and wanted? Or undergoing an epic journey to an unknown territory with little knowledge of the outside world? Steinbeck 's "Flight" wonderfully articulates how society can chew up and spit out the individual if tampered with, and Pepe 's experience rightfully exemplifies this. WORK CITED: Gordon L, Walter. "Steinbeck 's Flight ': Journey to or from Maturity?" Artemis Literary Sources 1998. Literature Resource Center. Web. 22 Apr. 2016. Johnston G, Kenneth. "Teaching the Short Story: An Approach to Steinbeck 's 'Flight '" Artemis Literary Sources 2010. Literature Resource Center. Web. 22. Apr. 2016 Steinbeck, John. "Flight." The Bedford Anthology of American Literature. Vol II. Eds. Susan Belasco and Linck Johnson. 2nd edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2014. 224-227. Print. Vogel, Dan. "Steinbeck 's Flight ': The Myth of Manhood" Artemis Literary Sources 2010. Literature Resource Center.
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