Antaeus (short story)

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Antaeus is a short story by Borden Deal. It is named after the mythological figure Antaeus, a giant who was unconquerable as long as he touched the ground.

This story has appeared in many American and European school textbooks. It is an archetypal tale of rural ways clashing with urban lifestyles.

The plot[edit]

The story is about a boy named T.J. from Marion County, Alabama who moves to a city in the North. He organizes an effort by a gang of kids to grow a garden at the gang’s hideout, on top of a factory building. T.J. is a southern boy who has moved to a big city. He is lost until he finds a way to bring himself back home, by building a garden.

After a lot of painstaking work, the kids are finally successful in cultivating grass, but are discovered on the rooftop by three strangers, including the building’s owner. The owner orders the garden to be shoveled off by one of the other strangers by the next day. Not wanting this to happen, T.J. destroys the garden himself, throwing the dirt and grass off the roof. He didn't want anyone to touch the garden, so ironically to protect it, he destroyed it.

After this sudden action T.J. leaves, and is not found for another two weeks. When the police do find him he is walking on the railroad tracks, heading home.

References[edit]