The Wanderer

The Little Kid Symbol Analysis

The Little Kid Symbol Icon

When either Brian or Cody ask Sophie about who her “real” parents were, she either avoids answering the question altogether or replies by telling a story about a “little kid.” Like “The Wave,” the “little kid” represents a part of Sophie’s past disguised in the form of a symbol. Sophie is the little kid of her stories; like Sophie, the little girl lost her parents, and has had to cope with wondering about why they left her alone and did not take her to heaven with them. Yet Sophie does not consciously recognize herself in the little kid. Having blocked the tragedy of her parents’ death from her conscious mind, Sophie talks about the little girl as if she were actually another person. The little kid, therefore, both represents the truth about Sophie’s past and feelings about her parents’ death, but also the ability of Sophie’s mind to block the past in order to dream her own world.

The Little Kid Quotes in The Wanderer

The The Wanderer quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Little Kid. 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:
The Passage of Time Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the HarperCollins edition of The Wanderer published in 2011.
V. Wind and Waves Quotes

There's a little kid. And the little kid doesn't know what is going on. The little kid is just cold or hungry or scared and wants Mommy and Daddy. And when other people tell the little kid that Mommy and Daddy have gone to heaven . . . the little kid feels bad and wonders why they didn't take their little kid with them . . .
And everywhere the little kid goes, people ask what the little kid remembers about the grown-ups, who have gone away to the beautiful place, but the little kid doesn’t want to remember that painful thing. . . . The little kid wants to be right here, right now . . . not back at those times the little kid got left behind.
But no matter what the little kid might want, something inside pushes the little kid ahead while something or someone pulls the little kid back.

Related Characters: Sophie (speaker), Cody
Related Symbols: The Little Kid
Page Number: 204
Explanation and Analysis:

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VI. Land Quotes

I reached across the bed and touched her hand. “Sophie,” I said. “Maybe that’s not Bompie’s story. Maybe that’s your story.”
Bompie whispered, “Sophie, he’s right. That’s your story, honey.”
Sophie stared at me and then at Bompie. She looked so scared and so little sitting there beside Bompie. And then she put her head down on Bompie’s chest and she cried and cried and cried.

Related Characters: Cody (speaker), Sophie, Bompie
Related Symbols: The Wave, The Little Kid
Page Number: 249
Explanation and Analysis:

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I’ve been thinking about the little kid. I think that one day the little kid got lucky and she landed in a place where it was okay if she couldn’t remember all the time, and because it was okay if she couldn’t remember all the time, and because it was okay not to remember, she started to remember. And along with the painful things came the good things to remember and maybe she felt as if she’d found some things she’d lost.

Related Characters: Cody (speaker), Sophie
Related Symbols: The Little Kid
Page Number: 263
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Du

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The Little Kid Symbol Timeline in The Wanderer

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Little Kid appears in The Wanderer. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
III. The Island
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...that they were in Kentucky. She then starts to tell a story about a “ little kid ” whose parents weren’t with them any longer, and so the little kid had to... (full context)
IV. Under Way
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
...While Sophie won’t tell Cody what the dreams are about, she does start talking about the little kid she always mentions. When the little kid was about three years old, Sophie says, she... (full context)
V. Wind and Waves
The Passage of Time Theme Icon
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...replies: “Why do people always ask that?” She then starts to tell a story about the little kid again. The little kid, she says, has no idea what’s going on—but the kid is... (full context)
VI. Land
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...to answer them by telling a vague story about a little girl—different than Sophie’s “ little kid ”—meant to refer to Sophie, but Cody fills in Dock’s vague outline of the girl’s... (full context)
Dreaming vs. The Real World Theme Icon
Family and Personal Identity Theme Icon
...encourages her that such a memory would be a good thing to remember—that the “ little kid ” Sophie talks about might like to remember something like that. Sophie just replies: “That... (full context)