The Fat Boy

In: English and Literature

Submitted By coolgirl06
Words 675
Pages 3
The Fat Boy
By: Owen Marshall
‘The Fat Boy’ is a short story by Owen Marshall about an anonymous, nameless boy who mysteriously appears in a small town in New Zealand and was hated by the townspeople. In the text, I noticed how the author used various symbolisms and themes that are seen in real life. There are three symbolisms in ‘the Fat boy’ that caught my attention. These are religious figures, conscience, and outsider.
There were various points in the story where the author made used of a religious figure. The fat boy, for instance, has been described as monk-like. The fat boy is also like a shepherd tending his flock. “The fat boy stood before the railings and held one of the iron bars like a staff”. The fat boy, being a symbol of the Shepherd, looks after and protects the innocent, “The children smiled at him as he watched, and were content at his presence…”. At the end of the story, the fat boy ‘dies’ and his body mysteriously disappeared. I thought of how the fat boy’s fate resembles Jesus Christ who was also blamed for things he didn’t commit, was ridiculed and accused by the public and whose body also disappeared when he died.
The fat boy seems to act as the townspeople’s conscience which is why he appears at or before each crime is committed "the fat boy had the knack of being where he was least desired". I think this is maybe one of the reasons why he is described by the town people as having such unattractive figure “A very fat, ugly boy, the music teacher said”. I noticed how the people who are guilty of crimes in the town such as Mr. Lammerton resent the fat boy's (conscience) presence as he makes him feel guilty for beating his wife. It is often easier to blame someone else than take responsibility for your actions. The fat boy also symbolizes ‘outsiders’. He is used as a ‘scapegoat’ by the town’s people who blame all the crimes on him because…...

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