Themes and message

Bullying

An important theme of the short story “The Moose and the Sparrow” by Hugh Garner is bullying. Cecil is bullied by Moose throughout the story. The situation is made worse by the fact that Moose is Cecil’s boss. This means that Cecil cannot refuse to do the things Moose requests him to do or speak against him. Also, Moose is good at his job, so his superiors do not want to let him go or openly reprimand him, since they do not want to lose him. 

Moose bullies Cecil in many ways, including through abusing his position to give Cecil jobs “that would have taxed the strength of any man in the camp” (p. 209, ll. 28-29), verbal abuse: “cursing him out” (p. 209, l. 30), destroying his personal possessions by stepping on his glasses (p. 211, ll. 44-3), and even physical harm (p. 211, ll. 20-22). The attacks become increasingly violent, leading everyone to fear for Cecil’s safety: “we made sure there was always one of us in the ...

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