47 pages 1 hour read

Piers Paul Read


Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1974

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Symbols & Motifs

The Red Shoes

Nando Parrado is one of the men chosen to make the expedition down the mountain to find civilization. He is desperate to return to society and is among the most enthusiastic of all the survivors with regards to actively seeking rescue. He understands the value of hope, and he uses a pair of red shoes as a symbol for those who remain at the crash site. The shoes were purchased before the crash as a present for a young relative. Parrado separates the shoes each time he sets off on an expedition, and he tells the other survivors that he will return to unite the pair. The separation of the shoes symbolizes Parrado’s separation from the rest of the group. The pair of shoes are naturally intended to be together so they must be reunited. In the same way, he has formed an innate bond with the rest of the crash survivors and is destined to be reunited with them. The splitting apart of the shoes also symbolizes the understanding among the men. Parrado performs the separation because he wants the others to understand their shared bond and to join him in a demonstration of hope.