A Deeper Look into Gary Soto's Inner Struggles With Guilt

Categories: GuiltStealing

Isabelle Holland once remarked, "Guilt is the price we pay willingly for doing what we are going to do anyway." Gary Soto, in his poignant narrative, delves into the intricate realm of guilt, weaving a tapestry of emotions surrounding his act of stealing an apple pie. Soto meticulously explores the facets of his inner self, the influence of religion, and the repercussions on his outer self, shedding light on the profound impact of guilt on his psyche.

Paranoia: A Manifestation of Fear

Soto's vivid portrayal of his inner self reveals the overwhelming fear and paranoia that gripped him after the theft.

The palpable sense that those around him were aware of his transgression is evident in his recounting of mundane events, such as a car honking or Mrs. Hancock observing him. The anxiety reaches an absurd climax when he personifies the pie tin, describing it as glaring at him and rolling away in response to the wind. This surreal image exposes the depth of Soto's fear, extending even to inanimate objects becoming witnesses to his illicit act.

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Religious Guilt: The Struggle for Redemption

Furthermore, Soto grapples with the weight of religious guilt, employing biblical references to accentuate his inner turmoil. His attempt to escape guilt through distraction, as seen in his frisbee playing, mirrors the human tendency to seek solace in mundane activities when confronted with moral discomfort. The allusions to Adam and Eve's thirst after consuming the forbidden fruit underscore Soto's awareness of the moral consequences of his actions. Despite considering himself "young and innocent, holy in every bone," the theft haunts him, and the fear of divine retribution lingers throughout the day.

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Shame and Disgust: The External Manifestation

Soto's description of his outer self reflects the profound shame and disgust he feels regarding his theft. The metaphorical association of the sweat under his arms with the "juice of guilt" adds a layer of repulsion to his emotional state. This visceral reaction emphasizes the extent of Soto's self-loathing. The interaction with Cross-Eyed Johnny, who comments on his dirty hands, becomes a symbolic moment of realization for Soto. The physical dirtiness mirrors the moral stain of his actions, intensifying his feelings of guilt and regret.

The Resonance of Guilt: A Lasting Impression

By dissecting the effects of paranoia, religious conflict, and overwhelming shame, Gary Soto intricately reconstructs the trauma of his childhood theft. The paranoia reveals the depth of his insecurity, showcasing the profound impact of guilt on his perception of the world. The religious undertones highlight the ethical dimensions of his transgression, accentuating the internal struggle for redemption. The shame he experiences serves as a catalyst for regret, awakening his moral conscience to the wrong he committed. In amalgamating these elements, Soto vividly resurrects the experience of his first theft, immortalizing the moment that forever altered his perception of innocence.


In conclusion, Gary Soto's narrative transcends a mere account of apple pie theft; it becomes a profound exploration of human guilt and its far-reaching consequences. The interplay of paranoia, religious conflict, and shame unveils the intricate layers of his emotional landscape, leaving an indelible mark on his psyche. Soto's reflection serves as a timeless reminder of the enduring impa

Updated: Dec 29, 2023
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A Deeper Look into Gary Soto's Inner Struggles With Guilt. (2016, Jul 30). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/gary-soto-guilt-essay

A Deeper Look into Gary Soto's Inner Struggles With Guilt essay
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