50 pages 1 hour read

A.S. King

Reality Boy

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2013

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Symbols & Motifs

The Circus

The circus features prominently in Gerald’s fantasy and reality. Symbolically, it represents childhood deferred. Going to the circus was an incentive for Gerald and Lisi to be on best behavior on Network Nanny. Yet when the rules clearly did not apply to Tasha, Gerald rebelled so that they lost their opportunity to go to the circus. As a teenager, the circus is a frequently recurring place in Gersday where Gerald imagines performing a trapeze act with Lisi. Gersday becomes a safe place for him to go to the circus and visit his sister on his own terms.

Since the circus has such a powerful sentimental meaning for him, when Joe Jr. and his family come to town for the circus, Gerald feels it is a sign for him to leave town. He imagines joining Joe Jr. and his family as part of the circus. When he relays these plans to Hannah, she says incredulously, “You’re going to run away with the circus?” (122) The notion seems fantastical to her, but for Gerald who lives primarily in fantasy, the circus seems like a viable option. He has cultivated an attachment to it for so long.

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