Home » Discussion 1.3 and reading quiz 1.3

Discussion 1.3 and reading quiz 1.3

For this discussion board, please answer the following questions over “Sticks” in paragraph format. Be sure to include evidence from the story in the form of quotes or paraphrases in your answer.

  1. If the pole in the front yard is symbolism, what might it represent?
  2. How is the character of the father drawn? How would you describe him?
  3. What do you believe the father is trying to communicate?
  4. Do you think the father is a stand in for something larger, or this is just a quick story about one man’s efforts to communicate?

As always, please respond to at least two of your peers, and make sure you meet the word count minimums. When responding, try to add more information to your peers’ answers. What other evidence did you find that your peers did not? Where you surprised by anything anyone said? Why or why not? 

post must be 250 words and each response 100 min.

peer 1 : (Nate bebe)

  1. If the pole in the front yard is symbolism, what might it represent?
    The pole certainly has much symbolism. In truth, I think the pole means many different things for the father of the story. It represents different holidays, and the emotions he feels at different times. The author notes: ” On the Fourth of July the pole was Uncle Sam, on Veteran’s Day a soldier,  on Halloween a ghost. The pole was Dad’s only concession to glee”. Ultimately, however I believe the pole is a symbol for the father himself.
  2. How is the character of the father drawn? How would you describe him?
    Interestingly enough, the author does not provide much of a physical description of the father. We know he is of fairly old age, as he ultimately dies at the end of the story, but there isn’t much description of his looks. We do clearly see that he has a very strict and stern demeanor. The author notes: ” We were allowed a single Crayola from the box at a time. One Christmas Eve he shrieked at Kimmie for wasting an apple slice. He hovered over us as we poured ketchup saying: good enough good enough good enough. Birthday parties consisted of cupcakes, no ice cream”. Such descriptions of the children’s upbringing paint a picture of a very rigid, overbearing father.
  3. What do you believe the father is trying to communicate?
    Ultimately I believe the father is trying to communicate to his children how much he loves them. The little sticks he plants around the larger pole represent his children, while the pole is him. He then ties strings from the pole to the sticks, further illustrating the symbolism of the pole as himself, and the sticks being connected to the pole as the offspring of the pole. His notes of “LOVE” and “FORGIVENESS” are meant to effectively tell his kids that anything he did for them was out of sincere love for them and with their best interests at heart. Perhaps having realized he might have been too strict at times, he is asking his children to forgive him for coming off so mean.
  4. Do you think the father is a stand in for something larger, or this is just a quick story about one man’s efforts to communicate?
    Well, this is an interesting question to ponder. I believe that the pole first and foremost stands for the father and is supposed to represent his experiences with his children. But on a larger level, I do believe it can be argued that the pole represents all the over-bearing, strict parents who, while having good intentions, may not realize that they need to lighten up a bit, so to speak. 

peer 2 : (Suong Lam )

Deeper meaning of sticks :

     The pole in the front yard, at first, seems like a decoration to Dad. He dresses the pole up every holidays and events, such as Uncle Sam on Fourth of July, “… Veteran’s Day a soldier, on Halloween a ghost.” As the story goes on, Dad’s decorations also shows readers that the pole symbolizing something much more than just a decoration. Although the author says that the pole is “… Dad’s only concession to glee,” the pole also represents Dad’s emotions and beliefs. Decorating the pole is also an odd way for Dad to communicate to his children about his unsaid feelings.


     The father’s character was drawn mostly through Dad’s personality rather than his appearance. His image, in my personal opinion, is stiff and strict toward his children. The short story describes how he reduces his kids’ spendings on things in their early years with “single Caryolafrom the box at a time”, “shrieked at Kimmie for wasting an apple slice”, “hovered over us as we poured ketchup”, and “birthday parties consisted of cupcakes, no ice cream”.  He’s somewhat a traditional and old-fashioned type of father, and a bit taciturn.


     In the second, or last, paragraph, the readers can start to realize what Dad is trying to communicate with them through decorating the pole after Mom’s death. He puts photos of Moms after she died, and later on, “tubes of Mom’s makeup” is found one day by the author. These images create a feeling for readers that Dad is mourning for Mom and she’s so important to Dad. Moreover, Dad’s talismans, such as “army medals, theater tickets, old sweatshirts”, are a way so Dad can tell his younger days for his children to know: about he has been a soldier, about which movie he has seen, and how he has worn that old sweatshirt.

      The strongest message is when Dad symbolizes the pole as himself by “hammering in six crossed sticks around the yard” and “ran lengths of strings between the pole and sticks”. Dad shows the connection between him and the kids through those strings and through “a sign saying LOVE”. Those written index cards about “letters of apology, admissions of error, pleas for understanding” are his silent messages for them as if he already knows that his time has come. “FORGIVE?” sign is a way of Dad saying sorry for all those years making his children feel “the seeds of meanness blooming within…” them, even when they’ve grown. 


     Is the father a stand in for something larger, or this is just a quick story about one man’s efforts to communicate? Before running in to this question, I only view this as a quick story of a father. However, as I think about it, I somehow see the father in “Sticks” also represents love. 

     Love doesn’t have to be tender and sweet, sometimes. Love can be tough. Like how oddly Dad shows love in this story, some people show love in their own kind of way and we, as the author, might take it wrong. So, I guess, the moral of the story is: treasure people around us, they might love us endlessly and quietly and we don’t know until they are gone. 

Reading Quiz 1.3: “The Swimmer”

Reading quizzes are multiple choice quizzes covering the main ideas of the reading. You will only have one attempt at taking the quiz. However, all quizzes are open book, open note quizzes.

Once you begin this quiz, you must complete it. You will have 50 minutes to complete this quiz. 

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