"Penny in the Dust" by Ernest Buckler

Essay by hoellwarthJunior High, 9th grade October 2006

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Sometimes in life meaningless and insignificant objects could worth more than a treasure for a person. A penny, something that someone would consider unworthy, could symbolize a strong relationship between a father and a son that could not freely express their love for each other due to the fear they carried inside them "If Father hadn't been there, I might have told her the whole story." Despite the fact that the Father didn't express his love for his son on a regular basis, he offered Pete a very shiny penny that revealed the hidden love he had for him. Although the act of giving the penny to his son without him showing any desire for it, "He couldn't offer me anything until I had shown some sign that the gift would be welcome.", Pete accepted the penny gratefully, without commenting too much about it ""Oh thanks," I said. Nothing more.

I couldn't expose any of my eagerness either." However, the special gift meant a lot more to Pete than just a penny "I had never seen a shining new penny before that day. I'd thought they were all black. This one was bright as gold. And my father had given it to me." From that last chain of words he had spoken, the reader could observe that the gift had an emotional value attached to it, because of the hidden love of Pete's father. It seems for Pete that all his father's trust was put into that one single penny, the shiny one that he had just receive.

On the other hand, the penny symbolizes an imaginable treasure, which would ease his father's work in many ways "Louder, smiling intensely, compelling him, by the absolute conviction of some true particular, to believe me. It was the only time I had ever seen tears in his eyes." Even though Pete thought that his father wouldn't understand him and his fantasies as a young child, and vice versa, eventually they got to a point where their love rose up from the bottom of their hearts like a spring rising up from the deep centre of the earth, as we see when Pete discusses the following actions of his father after he tells the true meaning of the penny "It was the only time in my seven years that he had ever put his arm around me." Despite the fact that his father had gone to the other world and the whole story is just a memory of his past, Pete knew and felt deeply in his heart the love his father had for him and how much did this penny symbolize to their relationship "Yesterday I knew. I found the penny again yesterday when we were getting out his good suit. It was still shining. He must have kept it polished." That part is the denouement of the story; that is when everything becomes clear in Pete's mind. That was the moment that Pete had been waiting for all his life, I assume. At that moment he knew the truth, but there was no turning back. Now again, the hidden love between a father and a son was revealed, only with the help of a special gift, a shiny, new penny in the dust.