40 pages 1 hour read

Dave Pelzer

The Lost Boy

Nonfiction | Autobiography / Memoir | Adult | Published in 1997

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Symbols & Motifs

David’s Bicycle

While David is living with Lilian and Rudy Catanze, his bicycle becomes a symbol of the freedom of movement that he enjoys as a foster child. He is no longer “Mother’s prisoner” (3), confined to the garage and compelled to do her bidding. Because of his oppressive life with his mother during his early childhood, David associates freedom of movement and physical motion with liberty. This association between freedom and physical motion is also the source of David’s “fascination with aircraft”; as “a prisoner in Mother’s house” he “always wanted to fly” (282). During one of David’s mother’s rare visits to see David, his brother Stan breaks the bike out of resentment. The fact that the bike gets broken during his mother’s visit is emblematic of the way she represents a threat to David’s freedom throughout the book. David states that he will always remember the day that he repairs his bike and rides around the neighborhood for hours; while he is riding his bike, he finally feels like a normal child who is free to make his own decisions about where he goes and what he does during his spare time. As a teenager, David’s love of bike-riding develops into a love of motorcycles.