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Handy Hats

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Some mysteries of the hand hands will never be solved. For example, we have no idea from which outlet the Hunches purchased their hand hats or why they haven't caught on in popularity with the super chic among us. We don't even know if the Hunches have to worry about hat hair. What we can say with some certainty, though, is that the handy-hats look to be an important symbol in Hunches in Bunches.

Gathering the Evidence

Let's see what we know about the handy hats. Although never mentioned in the poem proper, the hand hats appear on every one of the Hunches in the illustrations. They also come in different shapes, sizes, and colors depending on the Hunch on which they perch.

  • The Happy Hunch has a really big, red hand-hat pointing in one direction.
  • The Spookish Hunch has a hand-hat pointing in two directions plus two additional hands pointing in two other directions. 
  • Then there's the Super Hunch with yellow and white hands pointing all over the place.
  • The only Hunch that we don't know for certain has a hand-hat is the one speaking in stanza 14, and he's too big to fit in the room, so we can't say he doesn't have one either.

Caught Red, Blue, and Yellow Handed

So what can we say with the evidence we've dug up here? Well, the hands symbolize the direction the hunch urges the boy to go while the size of the hand seems to suggest the intensity of the urge—or lack thereof. Also, these directions can often times contradict each other in confusing manners, like the Spookish Hunch.

For example, the Better Hunch's hand-hat is smaller than the Homework Hunch's hat, so he has to yank off the homework Hunch's hat to get his point across. Then along comes the Sour Hunch with a really, really big hat, pointing out back and trumping the Better Hunch's suggestion. Then there's the Down Hunch, whose hat points—where else?—down. It must be an immense hunch too because the Down Hunch's hand is huge.

The hand-hats representing the Hunch's hunch is further supported by the battle royale toward the books' ending. The Hunches not only use their hats as weapons to punch each other, but the ones with the larger hands seem to be coming out on top in the scuffle.

In the end, the boy adopts the Hunches' habits as well. When he multiples to argue out his fidgets with himself, the boys use their hands to point and make their claim, too. Like the Hunches before him, the boys point their hands in various directions to represent different suggestions.

In the end, when the boy decides to have lunch, he doesn't point in the direction of the kitchen. Instead, the hands lie relaxed at his side, suggesting that he doesn't need Hunches anymore. His mind has been made up.

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