Saturday Afternoon by Erskine Caldwell

This study guide will help you analyze the text “Saturday Afternoon” by Erskine Caldwell. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, theme and message.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Saturday Afternoon”
Author: Erskine Caldwell
Date of Publication: 1936
Genre: Short Story

Erskine Caldwell (1903-1987) was an American author of novels, short stories, non-fiction and biographical works. Caldwell became popular with his 1932 novel “Tobacco Road” which was adapted into a play shortly after its publication. Most of his work deals with social issues like poverty and racism and are set in the Southern United States where Caldwell was born and raised.


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A range of symbolical elements contributes to enhancing the story’s themes and messages and make it more appealing to the readership.

The Coca-Cola bottles are a symbol of consumerism and herd instinct. In the story, all the men drink it, and it is implied that ‘everybody likes it’, except for Will. Coca-Cola becomes symbolic of people following trends just because everybody else does it, out of conformity … 


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Saturday Afternoon by Erskine Caldwell

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