The Taste of Watermelon

by

Borden Deal

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Moon Symbol Icon

The full moon represents the narrator’s youthful bravado: its light at first seems to bring clarity and strength, but then in hindsight it seems to have enchanted them into folly. When the night starts, the full moon illuminates deceptively; it is “almost as bright as day, but softer and gentler than daylight could ever be.” This misleading light inspires over-confidence in the boys, making them “feel as though [they could] do anything in the world.” Tricked by this deceptive confidence, the narrator also rushes to judgement about Mr. Wills, foolishly believing the town’s gossip about him. Finally, the moon inspires the narrator to steal Mr. Wills’s watermelon that very night, as he concludes it would be most heroic to steal the melon when Mr. Wills could easily see him. The moon therefore encourages the boys’ bravado.

However, by the end of the night, the moon’s enchantment has worn off, and the narrator sees his confidence as youthful folly. After witnessing the consequences of his actions on Mr. Wills’s family, the narrator is grateful when the moon sets, bringing “a welcome darkness into the world.” With the deceptive moon gone, the narrator can see the true motives behind his own actions: instead of standing up for what was right, he realizes that he was only “acting out of pride.” Ultimately, true clarity comes to the narrator only in “the gray light of dawning,” when he has the idea to help Mr. Wills plant the watermelon seeds next year. The moonlight therefore represents youthful bravado, while daylight brings mature understanding.

Moon Quotes in The Taste of Watermelon

The The Taste of Watermelon quotes below all refer to the symbol of Moon. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
).
The Taste of Watermelon Quotes

The moon floated up into the sky, making everything almost as bright as day, but at the same time softer and gentler than ever daylight could be. It was the kind of night when you felt you can do anything in the world, even boldly asking Willadean Wills for a date. On a night like that, you couldn’t help but feel that she’d gladly accept.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Willadean
Related Symbols: Moon
Page Number: 302
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Taste of Watermelon PDF

Moon Symbol Timeline in The Taste of Watermelon

The timeline below shows where the symbol Moon appears in The Taste of Watermelon. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Taste of Watermelon
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
Exclusion, Cruelty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Illicit Sexuality and Acceptable Romance Theme Icon
Around the time the watermelon should be ripe, there is a full moon, and the three boys decide to go swimming in the creek. The moon rises, illuminating... (full context)
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
...fight. Finally, all tired out, they sit on the bank and look up at the moon. (full context)
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
...friends he intends to steal the watermelon that very night. They protest, telling him the moon is too bright and he will surely get caught. But the narrator insists on doing... (full context)
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
...looks over at Mr. Wills’s barn and sees Mr. Wills in the field under the moonlight. He watches as Mr. Wills reaches the spot where the watermelon should be, and unable... (full context)
Coming of Age and Masculinity Theme Icon
Rushing to Judgment Theme Icon
Exclusion, Cruelty, and Belonging Theme Icon
Morality Theme Icon
...runs home, straight to his bedroom. All that night, he can’t sleep and watches the moon fall until it disappears, bringing a “welcome darkness.” He feels the shame of having committed... (full context)