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The monopoly tournament which is a common symbol in the novel is seen as an important family tradition brought about by Cook Lewis and Ginny Smith after inheriting their father’s property. The tournament also involves Ty, Jess, Rose, and Pete. At first, it is seen as an ordinary board game for passing the time (Smiley n.p.). However, beyond the seemingly interesting game, is the symbolism for describing the characters’ desire for property and power. The characters seem to be hiding behind the façade of the game as they explore their desires, an aspect which gives the reader a wider perspective of the life of the Cook family. The most important rule of the monopoly game is that at the end, only one person acquires all the wealth as the rest remain broke. The game, therefore, gives an early sign that the Cook family is headed on the wrong path and it is likely to be torn apart by acquisitiveness and greed. There is no doubt that each piece of the monopoly game chosen by the players is symbolic to whoever chooses it. There is significance in the choosing and of the monopoly game as well which contributes to the overall theme of the novel.The monopoly tournament is unquestionably significant to the novel, and this is clearly illustrated by various scenes which depict the characters’ choice of game pieces as well as their conversations with each other. The tournament provides important insights on the characters and shows life off of the farm. The choice of the game pieces by each character is not only symbolic by also represents a significant aspect of the novel’s theme; movement. Starting with Jess Clark who is Harold’s son, a long-time family friend of the Cooks, we see a symbolic choice of the race car (Smiley n.p.), This choice is meant to represent flashiness, speed, and the aspect of being always on the go. Jess’s different outlook distinguishes him from everyone else, and his travels make him go the furthest. Rose chose a shoe which is in line with her personality and emphasizes the aspect of movement (Smiley n.p.).  A shoe is known to be firm and protective, and this implies that she could have strayed from the firm to any place she wanted. However, this is ironical given that Rose did not move out of the farm until her death. Another ironical choice is that of Ty who chose the dog which is known to run free at the very first chance. The novel depicts Ty as always going out and at the end of the day returning home to Ginny (Smiley n.p.). Ginny decided to pick a thimble for protection from the outside world as well as from her own secrets (Smiley n.p.). This is equally ironical given that the thimble does not represent movement, but in the end, Ginny was the first to leave the farm and start a new life. The last character, Pete had to make a tough decision between picking the mounted horseman or a wheelbarrow. In the end, he chose a wheelbarrow as a sign of his devotion to the farm. As the game progresses, the family gets to spend more time with each other and as a result, began to bond while assessing each other’s personalities.Another equally significant aspect of the monopoly game that contributes to the novel’s theme is with regard to the characters’ conversations. Through the conversations of Ginny and Rose, you can tell that their life is dedicated to the farm. On the other hand, the conversations of Jess, Ty, and Pete illustrate their experience of living off of the farm. Pete tells a story of his hitchhiking when he came out of high school in 1967and was taking an adventure across the country. On his way to San Francisco, “he was offered a place to stay by a family who ended up shaving his head and beard” (Smiley 82). This story is particularly significant to Ginny and Rose who seem to be reliving it. In foreshadowing his affair with Rose, Jess always made his stories as interesting as possible. For instance, Jess uses the story about an “American woman who put a gun to his side for evading the draft” in order to make himself more appealing and interesting to Ginny and Rose (Smiley 83). The fact that Jess uses interesting stories which are probably made up adds to the overall theme of the novel by denoting the likelihood of the Cook family being torn apart by acquisitiveness, greed, and competition. In his made-up stories, Jess is trying to overshadow Pete’s goofy stories about hitchhiking which make him seem more fun and appealing to both Ginny and Rose. The competitive aspect is also further illustrated by the conversation between Larry and Harold as they attempt to justify some of their actions. For Larry and Harold, almost everything is competition, and a good example is when Harold bought a new modern tractor that was better and more valuable than that of Larry. In response, Larry remodelled his kitchen by ordering a thousand dollars’ worth of cabinets and consequently “started breeding rabbits on the revolving shelves of the pantry and chickens in the wall cabinets” (Smiley 87). From the assessment, the monopoly tournament is, therefore, used as a symbol of repressed selfishness, greed, and competition between the characters.In summary, the monopoly tournament is one of the most important symbols in the novel that provides important insights on the various characters as they compete with each other. The characters are always trying to outdo each other in almost everything, an aspect which is not only significant but also adds to the overall development of the novel’s theme. This is clearly depicted through the characters’ choice of game pieces as well as their conversations. There is no doubt that the monopoly scenes are important in shaping the novel’s theme and without them, the characters would become in a way incomplete.

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