The Jacket by Gary Soto Essay

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The Jacket by Gary Soto

In "The Jacket" Gary Soto uses symbolism to reflect on the characterization and development of the narrator. Soto seems to focus mainly on a jacket, which has several meanings throughout the story. The jacket is used as a symbol to portray poverty, the narrator's insecurity, and the narrator's form of self-destruction.

Since the story uses a certain object, the Jacket, as the meaning of several issues, it primarily focuses on the narrator's poverty-stricken family. First of all, an example of the poverty is demonstrated when the narrator complains that the jacket "was so ugly and big that I knew I'd have to wear it a long time"(paragraph 3). It is clear that his lack of money was a problem in which he
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The fact that the narrator could not fix the torn part of the jacket can indicate that his family is struggling to afford money for themselves. These certain examples help portray the issues of poverty that the narrator's family struggles.

The Jacket symbolizes poverty as well as the narrator's insecurity throughout the story.
An example of the insecurity that is demonstrated in the story is mentioned when the narrator's teachers were of "no help, they looked [his] way and talked about how foolish [he] looked in [his] new jacket" (paragraph 7). The narrator feels insecure because of his assumptions that his teachers are making fun of him when in fact, they are not noticing him at all. Further more, he continues to say, "At lunchtime I stayed with the ugly boys leaned against the chain link fence… our mouths" (paragraph 9). This statement proves the narrator is having bad luck because of the jacket and is destroying his reputation at school. A third reason why the jacket symbolizes insecurity is because the fact that his classmates see him with the jacket, he feels that they "…say out loud "man that's ugly", I heard the buzz-buzz of gossip and even laughter" (paragraph 7). Just as he felt the same as he did in the teacher situation, he feels the jacket is something that makes himself like a
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