What is the theme of "Flight" by John Steinbeck?


Quick Answer

"Flight" is about the journey of a boy from childhood to manhood. The short story was written in 1938, at the top of Steinbeck's career. His next book was "The Grapes of Wrath."

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Full Answer

"Flight" tells the story of Pepe Torres, who wants to be considered a man. His mother tells him that he is lazy and foolish to think he is a man. On his first night alone in town, Pepe gets into an argument with a man and ends up killing him with a knife. Torres runs away to the mountains, but as he flees, he loses his hat, his horse, his coat, his gun and his water supply, all things that a mature man would know to keep to survive, implying that Pepe is not yet a man.

As he flees, he is being pursued. At the end, knowing he is going to be shot and killed, Pepe stands up, faces his pursuers, and takes his punishment like a man.

The story, like most of Steinbeck's works, is set in the Salinas Valley of California, so the description of the mountains and wildlife come across as authentic. "Flight" is included in the short story collection "The Long Valley."

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