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Weakness Symbols Necessary for Portraying Coming of Age Themes Short stories often have coming of age themes In the stories A White Heron Shaving Eleven The Masque of the Red Death and The Bet the coming of age themes are shown with the help of symbols The characters never just magically learn the lessons elements in the story help them along the way to acquire the knowledge necessary to becoming a successful adult Stories with coming of age themes share deeper factors with each other than just rites of passage the main characters all share something with each other Many symbols of the characters show certain weaknesses they have Each characters coming of age deals with the weaknesses the symbols portray In some cases the characters do not learn but the readers do simply by paying attention to what the character cannot This is exceptionally shown in the story The Bet by Anton Chekhov In The Bet the banker and the lawyer have basically the same weakness they each think he alone is always right This is nicely demonstrated in the beginning of the story after a heated discussion of the death penalty versus solitary confinement At supper the banker mocks the lawyer and says To me two millions are a trifle but you are losing three or four of the best years of your life I say three or four because you wont stay longer 138 The lawyer is also very headstrong as illustrated when he raises the stakes of the bet they make regarding solitary confinement versus the death penalty If you mean that in earnest said the young man Ill take the bet but I would stay for not five but fifteen years 138 The bet itself symbolizes these weaknesses The lawyers taking of this bet is the ruin of him The solitude for fifteen years drives him crazy The reader can then learn from the lawyers experience and come to
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