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Symbolism In Sharon Draper's 'Tears Of A Tiger'

Decent Essays
Changing the World: One Symbol at a Time Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist who focused on dismantling racism, once said, “It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it,” (“AZ Quotes”). In Tears of a Tiger, Sharon M. Draper uses the epistolary novel style of writing to present problems teenagers face. In the novel Andy, the protagonist, is unable to forgive himself after his drinking-and-driving accident kills his friend, Rob. Through this tale of teenage tragedy, the author conveys some themes about death, depression, guilt/blame, and racism. The characters have to learn to not only deal with these situations thrown at them, but also to live through them as well. Draper uses symbols to represent and show the life problems teenagers face on a daily base. In the novel, symbols are used to represent the problems teenagers face like drugs. Draper uses the five-dollar bill to break down and explain the true meaning behind drug abuse. Gerald, one of the main characters, experiences firsthand physical abuse and drug abuse. He explains, “With a five-dollar bill, somebody's stepfather can buy a bottle of whiskey, a nickel bag of pot, or a rock of crack. He smokes it, and drinks it, and goes home and knocks his kids around or his wife (before she got sick of it and left)” (Draper 29). Approximately 14.5 million (adults aged twenty-six or older) struggled with a substance-use disorder in 2014 (“Statistics on Drug
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