Angelica Gibbs uses several symbolic elements which help her give a deeper meaning to “The Test”. The symbols used are connected to the story’s characters, setting, and themes.

The three characters of the story are all symbolic, as they each represent a side of society in 1940s America. However, they are also relevant today.


Marian is a symbol of African Americans and their struggles in a prejudiced society which judges them by the color of their skin. She is stereotyped by the driving inspector, who assumes that she comes from the South, that she has many children, and that she is illiterate. Marian does not fit the inspector’s racist image of African-American women and proves him wrong.

When the inspector mocks Marian’s college degree, she cannot hold back her frustration and anger any longer and reacts emotionally. Because Marian expresses her emotions in such a straightforward manner, she shocks the inspector who expects her to be submissive.

Marian is also symbolic of determination in the face of adversity. Although she is a victim of prejudice, she is a hard worker and gets a college education. She also has the courage to take the driving test for a second time, even though she knows she was discriminated against the first time.

Finally, Marian’s character is also symbolic of the pain endured by those who experience discrimination. Her attitude shows that she is used to being treated differently. She also knows that there is no point in arguing with the inspector and therefore tries to maintain her calm and ignore his racist and sexist remarks. However, at the end of the story, she cannot contain her anger and frustrat...

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