The Secret Lion By Alberto Rios

Alberto Rios is a bilingual child of the parents with different nationalities (his mother was born in England, and father – in Mexico). Nowadays he has been a Regents’ Professor at Arizona State University since 1981. Naturally that his childhood, and the ban to speak Spanish at school, influenced at his literary works (especially this attitude towards bilingual children is reflected in the short story “Nan”). But one of his famous short novels is considered to be “The Secret Lion” that is being very rich in symbolism; this story returns back memories and thoughts of youth, discovery and simple joys of adolescence.
Two twelve-year-old boys are presented in the first paragraph of the author’s short story, and their view of growing up – they are anxious that everything changes. As the narrator tells about the magician who pulls a tablecloth out from under a pile of dishes, children are amazed at the “stay-the-same part,” while grown-ups focus only on the tablecloth itself. The issue that Alberto wants to show everybody is that adults have the benefit of experience and know the trick will work as long as the technique is correct. It means that when people “grow up,” they gain this experience and knowledge but lose their innocence and sense of wonder. In other words, the price, which is paid for growing up, is a permanent sense of loss. This problem is being central in “The Secret Lion.” The key symbols in the story only reinforce the major theme of the novel: change is inevitable and always accompanied by a sense of loss.
As mentioned above, there are two main heroes in this story – the narrator (may be the protagonist, in some way the author himself), and his friend Sergio (the supporting character). This short novel concerns the problems of these two children, and that they are coming to believe that anything they like will be in sometime taken away from them. This fact is supported through a series of events that take place when the guys are being in their junior high school years. The narrator vividly describes his own and his friend’s feelings when some things are taken away from their, their thoughts about this. Sometimes it is easy to part with their childish lives, the events are full with magic and wonder; and in some cases it is rather difficult for them to become grown-ups while loosing their innocence at the certain point of their life.
The exact example is the author’s mother that they believed was taking something from them. They thought that she was trying to hide an ideal place from them, their so called “heaven”. She didn’t want to tell them what was behind the hills. Then, they decided to search what really was there and found themselves in the place “perfect… like Wizard of Oz…so green, so emerald”. It was so nice and ideal; it even had the coke cup holder there. However, rather soon they lost their blind innocence and their perfect place came to an end for them when they realized that it was a golf course.

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