The Evolution of a Slingshot is a story of a boy whose life is often as raw and unfettered as the times. He lives in a world of tarpaper shacks and basement homes, of dusty roads and outhouses, of poverty and optimism, of the American Dream and justice snubbed.
In the late 1940s, while the country is recovering from the Great Depression and World War II, an eleven-year-old boy is simply trying to survive his small town world in Illinois. The great tragedy in his life has been the mysterious murder of his father, which has turned his world upside-down. The fear that grows out of his loss leads him to cling to his brother, Ray, as a substitute father figure. Unfortunately, Ray is only four years older, and while seeking retribution for his father’s death, he is also struggling with his family’s expectations of his filling his father’s shoes.
After watching the way Ray handles the situation when Jake is attacked on his paper route, Jake recognizes how self-destructive his brother’s anger can be, and he is afraid for him. This strengthens Jake’s resolve to handle his problems himself. The slingshot, which was once a toy to Jake, has now become his only means of defense. His life continues to offer him opportunities to choose how to deal with confrontations and the loss of others close to him.
His struggle to make the right choices transforms his relationship with his slingshot. It is this evolving relationship that mirrors the changes in Jake’s inner psychology—the changes which mold his personality and shape his ideas of right and wrong. When he finds himself at the decisive moment where he has the means to avenge the wrongs his family has suffered, what will his decision be? His future now hinges on the choices he makes.
By John Dean Williamsen