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Essay/Term paper: The oyster and the pearl

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Book Reports

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In William Saroyan's play The Oyster and the Pearl there is

a lot of symbolism. The theme of the play is to take it easy

and relax and life will be much happier. Harry Van Dusen is

a barber that has a philosophy of "Take it easy." He tries to

spread his philosophy by talking to people when he is cutting

their hair. It was almost as if the haircuts were just a way of

getting people in the barbershop to talk. The hats that Harry

wore symbolized the attitude that he was in. The sea

symbolizes life. The name of the small town that the story

takes place in is called O.K.-by-the-Sea. That name

symbolizes that life isn't perfect but by taking it easy it can be

more fun. Vivian McCutcheon is a new school teacher that

does everything "by the book." She just tries to fit in. This is

symbolized by her wanting a poodle haircut. She didn't really

want one but she was trying to be like everyone else. Harry

knew this and that is why he would not give her the haircut.

Harry's philosophy is superior to Vivian's philosophy of

fitting in. This is shown by how much happier Harry and

everyone else that lives by his philosophy is than Vivian. All

the little things in the story have symbolism too. The bottle of

sea water stands for the details of life that have to be looked

for. Clay and Clark Larrabee symbolize the problems and

difficulties that occur in life. Two of the most important

symbols in the story are the oyster and the pearl. The oyster

symbolizes obstacles that must be overcome to get to

hope(the pearl). Beach combing represents looking for the

obstacles to get to hope. The pearl is hope. When Clay

found the oyster he thought there was a pearl inside.

Everyone except Harry told him there was nothing inside of

the oyster. Harry probably knew there wasn't anything inside

of the oyster but he wanted to make Clay happy. The

Oyster and the Pearl is filled with symbolism. Much of it I

did not recognize. Taking it easy and relaxing is a great

philosophy to have because life will be a lot easier not

worrying about material things. Happiness is all a person


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