Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
We've got another tissue moment for you, so get ready. As Rob is putting things in order before Papa's funeral, he pauses for just a second to look at Papa's tools in the workroom. He tells us:
Most of the tools were dark with age and their handles were a deep brown. But where Papa's hands had took a purchase on them, they were lighter in color. Almost a gold. The wear of his labor had made them smooth and shiny, where his fingers had held each one. I looked at all the handles of his tools. It was real beautiful the way they was gilded by work. (15.21)
These tools—sturdy, practical, reliable—seem to be symbolic of Papa himself and of everything he stood for. They aren't fancy at all, but the care with which they were handled has made them beautiful and given them a new meaning.
Kind of like that old pair of rain boots you have in the back of your closet, right? They may be beaten up and not fit you any more, but every time you look at them you can't help but think of all the good times you had splashing around in the rain, and all the feelings come flooding back.
Papa's tools are like that—they're so much more than just tools. When he looks at them, Rob can see evidence of his father's determination, hard work, and the love he had for his family. Like Papa, they are humble things, but their value is priceless.