In the book On the Come Up, Angie Thomas uses symbolism to show how a pivotal moment can completely change you for the better. Her father’s chain is a huge symbol in the story which represents a lasting memory of Bri’s father since she passed away when she was a toddler. Another example of symbolism are the timberland boots. Since Bri’s mom isn’t the richest person in the world, Bri had to wear “fake timbs” as opposed to wearing actual Timberland Boots.
She was so loyal to these shoes that when Supreme saw her at a charity giveaway and was eyeing the real timberland boots, she didn’t even want the boots to shame her mother. This shows Bri has morals and is not about “selling out.” All of this causes Bri to develop character as a round character and showcases a situation to a person of color living in a neighborhood that’s very violent. Furthermore, this causes Bri to be more cautious whether it be in her raps or even if it’s what she’s wearing.
To begin with, Bri’s mother, Jay, gave Bri her father’s chain which is a huge memory of her father. Now her father passed away due to gang tensions even though her father “Lawless” wasn’t a gang member he was affiliated with the rival gang Garden Disciples and they have issues with another gang called, “Crowns.” Because of this, Bri was in the wrong place at the wrong time and got her chain snatched by a Crown at gunpoint.
The Crown even went as far as to taunt her about her lyrics on the song “On the Come Up,” in which she made lyrics that don’t represent Bri or her upbringing. This one single part of the story is a pivotal point in which Bri decides to be more cautious lyric-wise and just what’s she’s wearing.
Next, another symbol that’s pivotal for Bri are the timbs. Now since Bri comes from a single-parent household, and when that parent loses their job or is living check to check sometimes you must do what you must do to survive. But is doing what you must do to survive and possibly getting a huge paycheck worth more than your morals? Apparently, to Bri, all of that doesn’t matter because Bri declines to get real Timberland boots without her mother’s approval.
Most of the book Bri had been wearing “fake timbs” until she got the real deal pair. Supreme had been eyeing her at the charity giveaway looking at the real pair. Since he saw this, in order to become her manager, he uses this to get Bri to hire him as her manager instead of Bri’s aunt who knows little to nothing about the music industry. Bri agrees to the deal but eventually sees this as her “selling out.” The guiltiness of her having the new boots around represents a pivotal moment that she isn’t a sellout.