From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Peacock

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

The peacock first randomly appears in the used car lot where Milkman and Guitar are hanging out, considering all of the things they will buy and do with the gold they are about to steal. It is completely white, except for a tail "full of jewelry." When Macon first discovers the gold in the cave after killing the man, life, wealth, and security fan before him like a peacock’s tail.

The peacock then becomes closely associated with wealth and with the ways in which wealth can blind people. Peacocks are considered proud, vain creatures that like to preen their ornate tails. The presence of the peacock in the used-car lot seems to foreshadow a disappointing attempt at burglary. Instead of discussing the way in which they are going to go about stealing the gold or the probability of there being any gold at all, the boys are sidetracked and tempted by a discussion of what the gold will bring them. The peacock helps derail their focused, rational approach.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement