Stephen is faced with conflicting views regarding the definition of real manhood. When faced with difficult situations , acting with courage has the ability to develop personal integrity and
honesty and allows us to find what is truly important to us as human beings.
Initially, the story is focused on Stephen a fifteen year old that is conflicted with his father’s ideas of how he should act and how to be a man. At the beginning of the story, Stephen fears being seen as childish in front of his father and the other woodsmen because his father always said “you gotta start acting like a man if you want to hold down a mans job,there ain’t no room for kids in the pulpwoods.”
he then learns different perspectives from Leka, whom is a foreign worker that is from Europe who tells him that being true to yourself is the true meaning of being a man not what others tell you is the proper identification of a man, even though his father told him that showing weakness means you’re not a man
However , Stephen only sees being a true man with the characteristics that his father modeled for him. Leka accepts stephen as he is, and teaches him that being yourself is much better than following the roles of other people .
Ultimately , Stephen realizes that he wants to be his own person and be the man he wants to be. And we see his change during the story when he talks to his father, his father does not like the polack (leka) and tells his son to stay away from him , one of the changes Stephen undergoes is when he wakes Leka up at the end of the story, ” when the Polack began to tremble and moan, Stephen , hesitated for a long time before he reached to wake him.” even though his father told him not to speak or be around him, he does not listen to his father and proves he is his own person.