Evans’s “filthy-looking red-and-white bobble hat” (a knit beanie with a big pom-pom jauntily perched on the top) symbolizes the way that Evans both fulfills and subverts people’s judgments of him based on his appearance. At the beginning of the story, Jackson thinks the disgusting hat is concealing Evans equally disgusting long, wavy hair (which Jackson hates); in actuality, the hat is hiding Evans’ choppy new haircut, meant to mimic McLeery’s, so that Evans can eventually impersonate him. When Jackson brusquely tells Evans to clean himself up before his exam—starting with taking his grubby hat off—Evans quickly and expertly tugs on Jackson’s heartstrings by insisting that the grimy hat is the only thing that’s ever brought him any luck, so he was hoping to wear it for his big German exam. More than just a good luck charm, the seemingly harmless, humble hat is a critical part in Evans’s complicated plan to break out of prison. The same goes for Evans himself; his jokes, trickery, and banter with the prison guards lead everyone to believe that he’s more of an annoying, “nagging presence” than “a real burden.” Evans leans into the judgments people make about him based on his grubby appearance and jovial manner, allowing this image to distract from his sharp intelligence and extraordinary talent for deception. Like a fool in a Shakespearian play, Evans is not taken seriously—written off as a jokester in a funny hat—and yet is the most intelligent, clever one present, using his sharp wit to outsmart detectives and prison wardens alike.
Evans’s Hat Quotes in Evans Tries an O-Level
“Me ‘at? Huh!” Evans put his right hand lovingly on top of the filthy woollen, and smiled sadly. “D’you know, Mr Jackson, it’s the only thing that’s ever brought me any sort o’ luck in life. Kind o’ lucky charm, if you know what I mean. And today I thought—well, with me exam and all that…”
Buried somewhere in Jackson was a tiny core of compassion; and Evans knew it.
“Just this once, then, Shirley Temple.” (If there was one thing that Jackson genuinely loathed about Evans it was his long, wavy hair.)