From Boy to Man in Flight, by John Steinbeck and The Bear by William Faulkner

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From Boy to Man in Flight, by John Steinbeck and The Bear by William Faulkner

Flight, by John Steinbeck and The Bear by William Faulkner were both stories that dealt with the journey from boyhood to manhood. They were alike in many ways, a particularly interesting way was that in both stories, the journey to becoming a man was assisted by others, but ultimately it fell on the lone boy becoming a man on his own. The two boys in the story became men, but in two very different ways. In Flight Pepe is forced to make the transition to manhood as a result of his killing a man. He has to face up to the consequences of his actions, and he becomes a man by facing up to his actions. In The Bear, Faulkner portrays the journey to manhood as a less traumatic experience. The boy in the story hears about the legend of the great Bear, and is consumed by a boyhood longing to become a "man" by killing the Bear. His journies through the woods and his proficiency as a woodsmen are metaphor's Faulkner presents as an allegorical representation of a persons journey through life, experiencing and mastering the different skills within the "journey".

When the boy has finally become wise enough to confront the Bear, he realizes that what the Bear stands for is far more important than his killing of the Bear ever could be. He realizes that anyone could attack the Bear and kill it, but in the restraint of the boyhood urge for glory and respect he finds that he has preserved these virtues in himself and the Bear as well.

Steinbeck and Faulkner both portray the defining point of manhood as the point at which a boy must decide between restraining the urge to grasp the respect associated with manhood or grasping for that respect at any cost. Pepe grabbed for the respect when his manhood was challenged, he killed a man, and had to admit he was wrong before he could become a man. The boy from The Bear on the other hand chose not to grab for the respect and glory of manhood when he decided not to shoot the bear, and became a man as a result of that decision.
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