The Sign of the Beaver Symbols, Allegory and Motifs
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Written by Callie Labrador
Symbol of the Beaver
The beaver symbol carved crudely into the trees represents Attean's clan, the clan of the Beaver, and was intended to act as a property marker to show where their land and hunting grounds were.
Symbol of the Turtle
The symbol of the turtle represented the Turtle clan, another family of Indians with whom the Beaver clan coexisted peacefully. The symbol showed the boys where they could and could not hunt or gather animals found in traps, showing anything within a certain boundary to belong to the Turtle Clan.
Symbol of Time Passing
Matt scratched notches on sticks each day to mark off the days, weeks and months. As his time in the forest stretches on the collection of notched sticks becomes a symbol of how long he has been alone and how many months he waits for his family to return.
Allegory of Robinson Crusoe
Matt decides to read Robinson Crusoe to Attean and the book is an allegory of Matt's experience in the wilderness, in that he is reliant upon what he believes to be one of the "savages" to teach him how to survive in his new environment, although at times Matt feels the allegory is a reverse one as at times Attean seems to have taken on the role of master.
Allegory of Noah and the Flood
As Matt reads the story of Noah from his family Bible Attean tells of the Indian story that is an allegory of this, where animals were saved in pairs from a rising tide of water. The boys come to realize that there are many allegorical Indian stories that are allegories of those in the Bible.
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