The Importance Of Guilt In Gary Soto's 'The Pie'

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Guilt acts as one of the strongest and most prominent emotions humans feel throughout their lives. Guilt can cause people to help others, push through obstacles, or make friends. Guilt, however, may not stop one from doing amoral actions. This can happen as a result of a perceived bonus outweighing the negative feeling one may experience from completing the action, or a heat of the moment action, where one may not fully understand the consequences of their actions. This idea’s prominence in “The Pie”, a short story by Gary Soto, can be easily seen. The young boy in the story, although he generally acted “holy in every bone” (Soto 1), steals an apple pie. After he finishes the pie, he feels paranoid and extremely guilty. He “knew enough about…show more content…
The story explains the relationship between a young boy and his little brother, who had physical and mental disabilities. The narrator threatened to “leave [his brother] here all by [himself]” (Hurst 466), locked up in the attic, when his brother refused to touch the casket that he would have died in had he not survived infancy. He feels guilty after this interaction, brooding about his cruelty and sadness, thinking that he “did it for [himself]; that pride, whose slave [he] was, spoke louder to [him] than any of their voices, and that Doodle walked only because [he] was ashamed of having a crippled brother” (Hurst…show more content…
He behaved kindly for selfish and prideful reasons; he behaved unkindly when he couldn’t control his emotions. This buildup of emotions eventually caused Doodle’s death at the end of the story. The narrator recognizes his guiltiness when running away from his brother, knowing that Doodle’s heart cannot bear the strain. However, at the time, he did so anyways – he couldn’t understand the consequences of his impetuous actions, and ultimately, kills Doodle. Throughout the Scarlet Ibis, the cruel interactions between the narrator and Doodle occur in the heat of the moment, a characteristic crack of pride and cruelty in a child, where Brother feels guilty for doing so, but cannot comprehend what could happen as a result of his actions. Not all his actions seemed malicious – even if he acted selfishly for teaching his brother how to walk, he still seemed altruistic since Doodle truly experienced life when interacting with his brother. The author wanted to emphasize the important idea where even if he felt guilty for doing these things, he did so
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