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Symbolism in The Large Ant by Howard Fast

            The Large Ant, by Howard Fast, uses the act of murder and human nature to explore the ratio of good and evil. He uses the act of killing the ant to explore several substantial questions about human behavior and human tendencies. This is achieved through the characters, theme and symbolism in the narrative and in this essay I will talk about the latter. In the story, Fast uses the symbol of the ant to express how physical appearances and human impulses can lead people to act on their instincts when faced with sudden confrontation. In this story, the insect serves as a symbol to convey how the idea of the unknown will elicit fear in a person. From the beginning of narrative, the physical appearance of the ant plays an important role in symbolism. The appearance of the ant terrifies the protagonist, however readers are never given a description of the ant. After killing the insect, he notes that: I felt better and was able to go back into the shack and look at it. It was quite dead, but I had already made up my mind that I was .
             not going to sleep alone in this shack. (151).
             The author gives little detail of the actual appearance of the insect, but rather relies on the reaction of the protagonist to create a sense of mystery and fear around it. This is because the insect serves as a symbol for the general idea of something unknown to the character, and ultimately, people. Its role in eliciting fear in the protagonist, and others who reacted in the same way, is more important than it's skin texture or eye shape. The tools that the insect has indicates that his attackers misinterpret his nature and true intentions. .
             Look at yourself, Mr.Morgan-a cultured and intelligent man, yet you cannot conceive of a mentality that does not include weapons as a prime necessity. Yet a weapon is an unusual.
             thing, Mr.Morgan. An instrument of murder. (157).
             While examining the tools that the ant possesses, it is evident that they truly do not matter.

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