Legs

by: William Kennedy

Symbols

Main ideas Symbols

Kiki's fudge

The fudge that Kiki makes for Jack symbolizes her temporary futility and Jack's impotence. In contrast to Alice, Kiki cannot do anything in the homemaking realm. Her purpose, for Jack, is sex. When she makes fudge, however, she proves utterly futile, as far as Jack is concerned. Not only does she fail in the homemaking realm—the fudge will not harden—she fails in the sexual realm by failing to turn Jack on. Kiki and Jack go through this night without having intercourse because Jack cannot get an erection.

The machine gun

The first thrill Marcus experiences during his association with Jack is getting to handle a submachine gun (a "Tommy"), a symbol of the gangster era. When Marcus holds the gun, he is reluctant about its lethal power, thinking about the commandment "thou shalt not kill." But Marcus gets over his fear, and after he shoots a few rounds, he turns out to be a good shot and enjoys the thrill of handling the weapon.

The all-seeing eye

Jack puts up an all-seeing Masonic eye that Jack puts up in his bathroom, symbolizing his rejection of his Catholic background. Alice cannot stand the eye or Jack's involvement with the Masons. She decorates the house with crucifixes and holy pictures, so Jack gets under her skin by hanging up his own religious symbol.