The Osage Orange Tree - Peer Pressure

Peer Pressure in "The Osage Orange Tree"

"The Osage Orange Tree" by William Stafford tells a story of how peer pressure kept 2 people apart who wanted to like each other. The narrator of the story liked one of his classmates but was afraid to show that he liked her. He didn't have the maturity at the beginning of the story to go against peer pressure.

Peer pressure was involved with Evangeline being shunned because she was poor. Her faded blue dress set her apart from the rest of the students. SHe only had two dresses. The narrator stated, "she had changed from the dark heavy dress to the dull blue of the last fall" (370). The narrartor described her house as "gray and lopsided" (374). Her house had no running water. "There was a grayish white place on the ground where the dishwater had been thrown out" (374). Probably none of the students were wealthy in the story, but Evangeline was poorer than most of the Students.
Peer pressue dictated that Evangeline should be avoided. She was avoided by the others because she was different. "She was standing near the corner looking everywhere but at the crowd" (369). The narrator himself said, "I might talk to her, I thought. But of course it was out of the question" (371). The author didn't talk to her at school but he would at the tree. "The next day at school I didn't ask whether her father wanted to take the paper"(370). He was afraid to be seen with her. The narrator asked himself, "could anyone in the house have been watching. I looked back once"(370). Peer pressure prevented the narrator from socializing with Evangeline at school.
Sometimes peer pressue involves people making fun of each other. Although the narrator never made fun of Evaneline, other people did. She was made fun of with such comments as, "Why look at Evangeline- that old dress has a new belt." "Stop a minute Evangelin, let me see you new dress. "It is cute dear" (372). The narrator never came to the defense of Evangeline when those remarks were being made.
Due to peer pressure and lack of maturity, the narrator in "The Osage Orange Tree" missed an opportunity of permanently befriending Evangeline. Evangeline was poor, avoided, and made fun of. It is not until the conclusion of the story that the writer discovers how much Evangeline lked him. She "stole" from her bank to purchase newspapers from the narrator (373) in order to have an excuse to visit with him every day. He discoverd too late that the newspapers were thrown under the bridge and never actually read by her father.