In the book The Carpenter’s Gift, the author expresses the idea that kind actions do not go unnoticed and make the world better. Rubel (2011) uses symbolism in order to illustrate this suggestion. Symbolism is a literary device when a particular element of the narrative conveys a broader message. In the book, the usual pinecone became a symbol of hope for the fulfillment of desire and the Christmas tree – for housing.
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The protagonist, boy Henry, is from a low-income family and cannot afford another house except the old shack. Near the first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, he makes a wish, and after that, “His gaze fell on a pinecone lying on the ground” (Rubel, 2011, p. 11). Henry’s wish is fulfilled – the workers with whom he dresses up a Christmas tree help build a warm house for his family, and the pinecone that he found becomes beautiful spruce. Many years later, this spruce appears near the Rockefeller Center and, after Christmas, is supposed to be materials for building a house for the poor. Near the tree, old Henry sees the girl with the hope for a home. A pinecone fells near her, and “she turned it over and over in her hands before stuffing it into her pocket” (Rubel, 2011, p. 16). In this way, the one good deed helps build warm houses for one boy and many other families.
Thus, as a symbol, the fallen pinecone near the girl tells readers that her desire is about to fulfill, and the girl’s family will have a new house. At the same time, the tree near Rockefeller Center becomes a symbol of charity and giving. The subsequent use of wood indicates more than just a beautiful tradition. The spruce is a promise of home for everybody who does not have it yet.
Rubel, D. (2011). The carpenter’s gift: A Christmas tale about the Rockefeller Center tree. Random House.