The story also contains several symbols. A symbol is a physical object, action, or gesture that also represents an abstract concept, without losing its original identity. Most of the symbols in the story are local, meaning that their abstract meaning is dependent upon the context of the story. For example, the rockpile is physically a rock formation. In the way that it is depicted in the story, the hard rocks and the fights that take place there become symbols for the hard struggles faced by African Americans in the Harlem ghetto. The rock is "slippery," making it hard for the children to get a stable foothold, just as it is hard for them to get a stable foothold in their lives in the Harlem ghetto.