The Never-Ending Guilt of Stealing Many times in life, people do things that they regret doing later on, and it often comes back to haunt them. This can often cause fear and paranoia in one’s life. In Gary Soto’s autobiographical narrative, he steals a pie from a German market, and then feels guilty about the whole incident. Gary Soto recreates the experience of his guilty six year-old self with the use of religious imagery and language, the description of his paranoia that everyone knows, and the use of the fact that he attempts to escape his guilt, but is haunted and unable to escape it.
Soto uses religious imagery to relive the time when he stole the pie. Gary Soto “ enough about hell to stop from stealing”. It was always boredom that made him sin, not his actual mentality. He was “holy in almost every bone” except for his hands, because he has stolen things before. He also puts in his cleanest finger into the pie when he eats it. When Gary throws the Frisbee across the street, he uses the analogy that it was like “an angel fleeing bad deeds”. It symbolizes that he is trying to throw away his guilt.
Gary’s use of religious imagery explains that he is a strong follower of Christianity, even though he commits sins. Religious imagery gives us the sense that he is more worried about going to hell than going to prison, and it intensifies his paranoia. Gary Soto also describes the paranoia that everyone knows that he stole the pie. “A car and the driver ” Gary explains. He stole the pie, and Gary knows that the driver saw him, which only makes him feel guiltier. Another bystander, “Mrs. Hancock on her lawn, hands on hip, and she ”.
He thinks she knows that he stole the pie, because when she puts her hands on her hips, it makes him feel like he is being scolded. Even his mom “peeling a mountain of potatoes at the Red-Spud factory, knew” and the fact that it is his mom knowing his guilt only causes him to feel more regretful. The paranoia that Soto feels causes us to feel that he really is guilty of stealing the pie, and so he tries to escape this guiltiness anyway he can. The fact that Gary tries to escape his guilt but is haunted by it, helps explain his true feelings of remorse and paranoia about stealing the pie.
Gary “ Frisbee across the street” and then “ it… it again”. His repeated throwing and retrieval of his Frisbee symbolizes his bad deeds. The fact that he cannot get rid of his Frisbee represents that he cannot get rid of his guilt either. Soto attempts to take his mind off of his guilty feelings by “ sister glue bottle caps onto cardboard”. He is trying to get his mind off of it by doing other things, and hoping that he will just forget that this whole incident occurred. “ to crawl underneath house and lie in the cool shadows” to runaway from his problems.
However, he still hears “the howling sounds of plumbing” and he wonders if it is God speaking to him. These examples of his attempts to escape from his deed exemplifies the tenacity of his feeling of guilt. With the use of religious imagery and language, remembrance of paranoia, and the attempt and failure to escape guilt, Gary Soto recreates his intense feelings of shame that he felt when he was six years old and stole the pie. Gary feels contrite about the whole incident, and this narrative retells the event from his guilty point of view. Haven’t you ever done something that you’ve regretted before, but could never take it back?