How can someone pursue a personal desire if they spent their life trying to conform? Alden Nowlan’s short story, “The Glass Roses” explores this through the protagonist, Stephen. Stephen’s personal desire to feel accepted conflicts with his feeling of having to become like the pulp cutters because he is not mentally or physically ready to fit in with grown men. This results in Chris finding a way to become his own person. Stephen’s journey to pursue his personal desire is shown through setting, character development, and symbolism.
The setting that Stephen is in requires him to be well built and mentally prepared, but unfortunately, he is too young to be prepared for his surroundings. Stephen has been in …show more content…
Stephen’s struggle to find himself is shown using symbolism. The pulp saw that Stephen believes to be the most important thing in the world is symbolic of him trying to cut through his fathers and societies ideology of masculinity. The saw buckles under the weight of the tree because Stephen exerts too much pressure; he must put his all into cutting the tree down because him and Leka cut the least trees in the pulp cutting crew. He wants to be like the other pulpcutters but is trying too hard causing not only the saw, but also himself to buckle under the pressure. Stephen decides to let go of the saw when he hears Leka mention Cracow, he likes the sound and chooses to listen to Leka’s story rather than cut down the tree because he feels accepted by Leka when imagining his stories. Stephen finds that there is more to the world than cutting through the need to conform. Furthermore, the glass roses that Leka tells Stephen about symbolize Stephen, he is deemed fragile and weak in a time of battle against the setting. Just like the bombs that caused the glass roses to fall off the mantle and break the explosions caused by falling trees will eventually cause Stephen to fall off his mantle of childhood and shatter, losing his humanity and innocence. Stephen chooses to see the beauty within the glass roses and embrace it by befriending Leka and listening to his fairy tales rather than to break himself. Leka’s “fairytales”