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 Lost Boy Study Guide (Choose to Continue)

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Lost boy : Metaphor Analysis

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The Seagull
 
In the epilogue, Pelzer creates an explicit metaphor out of a flock of seagulls that he observes at the beach in Sonoma County, California. One seagull cannot keep up with the rest of the flock and falls to the sand. It hobbles around and finds some food, but then the rest of the flock descends and tries to grab it. But the seagull stands its ground and fights back. After a few moments the flock flies off, “in search of an easier victim” (p. 300). Dave interprets this as a metaphor for his own struggles in foster care. He has had to assert himself, but he has been successful. 
 
The Russian River
 
The Russian River in Guerneville symbolizes happiness for Dave. His family used to vacation there before the abuse began and he has fond memories of it. When he tries to run away from home in chapter 1, his aim is to reach the Russian River. When he lives with Alice and Harold Turnbough, he does not forget the river, remembering that when he was younger he fantasized about building a log cabin there. In the Epilogue, Dave and his young son are at the Russian River, which is presented as an idyllic place: “The shallow green river becomes transparent, with only a soft trickling sound that makes the water real. As the sun disappears behind a hill, the reflection of a Christmas tree shimmers from across the river” (p. 303).  
 
Superman and James Bond
 
When Dave and Larry go to the movies they see a James Bond film. The figure of James Bond, the secret agent who can do almost anything, escape any situation and save the world, gets imprinted firmly in young Dave’s mind. The fictional movie hero symbolizes for him the ability to be in control of life rather than at its mercy. Dave also comments on how earlier in his life he used to fantasize that he was Superman, the comic book and movie hero. This also supplied him with an image of power and freedom. In his essay, “Perspectives on Foster Care” that appears at the end of the book, Pelzer explains how he “used to escape my pain by dreaming of a hero. On the outside my hero did not fit into mainstream society, yet on the inside my hero knew who he was and wanted to do good for others in need” (pp. 315-16).   



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