53 pages 1 hour read

Eliyahu M. Goldratt

The Goal

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1984

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Symbols & Motifs


The Goal is set in the small town of Bearington, in an unnamed state in the U.S.A. Alex, a native of Bearington, has recently returned to his hometown to run a UniCo plant. Alex frequently muses on his childhood and adolescence in Bearington, the present state of the town, and the consequences for the town should the plant close down. In this way, Bearington stands in for Alex himself—it encompasses his past, present, and his—potentially grim—future.

Alex speaks fondly of Bearington, particularly his childhood there. He feels a sense of pride and connection to the place he grew up in, boasting that he knows “the best places to go to buy things, the good bars and the places you stay out of” (12). Though he claims that he “can’t see much difference here from any of the other suburbs where we’ve lived” (12), he admits that he feels “ownership” (12) of and “more affection” (12) for Bearington.

Because Bearington is a symbol for Alex’s life journey, he views it through rose-colored glasses. Almost off-hand, he notes the “sooty, crumbling” (12) buildings, the store fronts “vacant or covered with plywood” (12). Bearington has lost its sheen, just as Alex’s failure at the plant has destroyed his status as the local kid who “made it big” (13), a “high school fantasy come true” (13).