In William Saroyan’s play The Oyster and the Pearl there is a lot of symbolism. The theme of the play is to take it effortless and loosen up and life will be a lot happier. Harry Van Dusen is a barber that has a philosophy of “Take it effortless.” He tries to spread his philosophy by speaking to men and women when he is cutting their hair. It was practically as if the haircuts were just a way of receiving individuals in the barbershop to talk. The hats that Harry wore symbolized the attitude that he was in. The sea symbolizes life. The name of the compact town that the story takes place in is named O.K.-by-the-Sea. That name symbolizes that life is not perfect but by taking it straightforward it can be much more enjoyable. Vivian McCutcheon is a new college teacher that does every thing “by the book.” She just tries to fit in. This is symbolized by her wanting a poodle haircut. She did not definitely want a single but she was attempting to be like everybody else. Harry knew this and that is why he would not give her the haircut. Harry’s philosophy is superior to Vivian’s philosophy of fitting in. This is shown by how significantly happier Harry and everybody else that lives by his philosophy is than Vivian.
All the small factors in the story have symbolism as well. The bottle of sea water stands for the specifics of life that have to be looked for. Clay and Clark Larrabee symbolize the problems and difficulties that happen in life. Two of the most critical symbols in the story are the oyster and the pearl. The oyster symbolizes obstacles that have to be overcome to get to hope(the pearl). Beach combing represents searching for the obstacles to get to hope. The pearl is hope. When Clay identified the oyster he thought there was a pearl inside. Everybody except Harry told him there was nothing at all inside of the oyster. Harry probably knew there wasn’t something inside of the oyster but he wanted to make Clay delighted.