The Stone Boy

Light Motifs in The Stone Boy College

Gina Berriault’s “The Stone Boy” follows the story of a young boy facing the aftermath of a terrible accident and trying to understand his responsibility in the matter. When Arnold does not respond emotionally, the adults’ false assumptions isolate Arnold. In “The Stone Boy”, Berriault uses the motifs of light to represent knowledge and truth and darkness to represent ignorance; together, they work to progress Arnold’s transformation of child to man.

The light references in “The Stone Boy” work to highlight Arnold’s awareness of his responsibility for a terrible thing. Arnold undergoes a drastic transformation in self-perception and identity based on how he feels, as well as how others view him. Arnold feels a burden for what happened, but he is unsure how to express himself. After the accident, a dazed Arnold continues to go and pick peas, following his routine, because it is the only normal thing he acknowledges. It isn’t until he feels “a warmth on his back, like a large hand laid firmly there” that he raises his head, indicating the sun is a source of insight, making Arnold aware of his brother’s absence (386). As Arnold makes his way back to the farmhouse, he notices that “while his head [has] been bent the land [has]...

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