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SYMBOLISM / IMAGERY / MOTIFS / SYMBOLS
Adamís bike represents freedom. In the present tense plot (the journey to see his father) Adam is determined to ride on his bike, even though he has enough money to take a bus. For Adam, riding his bike (without taking his medicine) is symbolic of making the journey under his own power. The bike represents another layer of meaning (since we know he never really undertakes the journey). In reality, Adam is only riding the bike around the hospital grounds. However, the bike is a departure from the authority of the agents in the hospital. Because he is riding it on his mental voyage to his father (which is figuratively a voyage to discovery his own identity) the bike represents his determination to rediscover himself. Unfortunately he has no chance because he is battling a much larger and much more powerful force.
Dogs present a problem for Adam throughout the novel. Essentially, they restrict his freedom. It is important to note that Silver, the hospital dog that attacks Adamís bike (representative of his freedom) is a German shepherd. This might be Cormier referencing Nazi Germany. The all encompassing and terrifying power of government in this novel can be construed as a government headed in the wrong direction. The governmentís self serving actions and blatant disregard for human rights, as well as its eradication of ethic minorities through the re-identification of the Delmonte family, is reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Perhaps this is an admonition by Cormier to watch government and not allow them to get away with anything.
The Farmer in the Dell
This childrenís song is a constant comfort for Adam, even when he is a teenager. His family sang the song when he was a child. However, like many things we learn as children, it is based on a fallacy--Adamís name is not Farmer.
When Adam exits the Eden phase (when he has the knowledge of what his life is really about) he becomes more attached to the song. This song is symbolic of the difficulty of exiting the blissful oblivion of childhood. It seems ridiculous when Adam still sings this song as a teenager.
Pokey the Pig
Adam carries a package containing his favorite stuffed animal Pokey the Pig throughout the story. This is the only thing remaining that links to his family and it is very important to his identity. It is s symbol of his ability to understand his past and also a symbol of his escape from his present situation