“Interpreter of Maladies” explores the cultural clashes of two families and the power that interpretation has to bring forth communication and connection, yet also its ability to expose the truth. Mr. Kapasi’s job as an ‘interpreter of maladies” enables a connection between himself and Mrs. Das, a connection that brings him to believe ” that all was right with the world., that all struggles were rewarded, that all of life’s mistakes made sense in the end.” (156) Losing his son at a young age, shifting further and further away from his wife, Mr. Kapasi is unhappy and dissatisfied with his life, living out his dream as a international interpreter in a doctor’s office. Described a “thankless job,” Mr. Kapasi recognizes no true power in his work until Mrs. Das describes it as romantic, pointing out that without his correct interpretations, lives would be lost. Mr. Kapasi is re-exposed to the power of interpretation, a power that enables him to save lives. It is because of Mr. Kapasi’s understanding of human life and condition that Mrs. Das chooses to expose an adulterous secret. The Das family, one of Indian descent is characterized by complete selfishness, neglect, and carelessness. As the story progress, Mr. Kapasi becomes attracted to Mrs. Das, fantasizing about their future in letter correspondence. It isn’t until further in the story that readers are expose to Mrs. Das true intentions of finding an understanding in Mr. Kapasi that she has yet to find in life. Revealing an unhappy life, Mrs. Das uncovers one adulterous night in which her third child, Bobby, was conceived. Desperate for consolation and forgiveness, Mrs. Das exposes her secret to Mr. Kapasi, giving him the power to revolve her actions. However, when Mr. Kapasi points out Mrs. Das’ guilt, she storms off, further adding to the ignorance that defines her family and to the inability of Mr. Kapasi to gain the very things in life that would make him happy.
“Hunters in the Snow”
The final plot twist comes in the last two sentences of the story. Here the narrator speaks directly to the reader, giving us information the characters don’t know. How is this an appropriate conclusion to the story? What final statement does Wolff seem to be making here about his characters?
The final two sentences of the short story, “Hunters in the Snow” by Tobias Wolff reveal Frank and Tub, driving a severely injured Kenny in the complete wrong direction, moving ever so slowly, further and further away from a hospital. “Hunters in the Snow” brings to life characters that are full of selfishness and each defined by their individual greed. Tub, self-conscious about his large weight and in complete denial about his savage gluttony, Frank, conducting an affair with a fifteen year old babysitter of his kids greedy with lust and self-indulgence, and Kenny characterized by his complete lack of respect for life all together indulge themselves in a game of hunting that turns terribly wrong. Shot in the stomach by Tub, Kenny is shoved into the back of a truck to be driven to a hospital. However it isn’t before long that Frank and Tub stop to get coffee and warm up, while readers picture Kenny bleeding out in the back of the truck. This conclusion, Kenny bleeding out in the truck while Tub and Frank drive further away from a hospital is more than an appropriated ending for his characters-they have final turned out like all the animals they have hunted before, savage greedy and dead.
“Once Upon a Time”
What stylistic devices create the atmosphere of children’s stories? How is this atmosphere related to the theme?
Children’s stories and fairy tales are products made up of fables, an underlying truth, and happy endings. Authors of children’s stories have an underlying truth or moral or lesson that they are overall trying to portray within the characters of a princess, witch, and prince. Told through the narrator’s point of view, these stories are simple with stereotypical characters associated with good and evil. Readers of Gordimer’s “Once Upon a Time” can infer that the setting of this ironic tale is in a partied South Africa. At first glance this short story is simple a tale of a loving couple and son, but in fact it is a cautionary tale of the injustices of segregation and injustice. In constant worry of protection, the main couple of the story continually builds a wall around their house to protect their son. In the end, it is that protection that kills the son as he is trying to live out a fairy tale. “Once Upon a Time” serves its purpose of outline an underlying truth, as in children’s stories; however this one does not have a happy ending. It was the “protection” that actually ended up killing the child, his dreams, and his childish fantasies-“â€¦while the bleeding mass of the little boy was hack out of security coil with sawsâ€¦” (236)
“A Rose for Emily”
What is the effect of the final paragraph? How does it change the reader’s attitude to Emily and her fate”
The final paragraph of “A Rose for Emily” concludes with “â€¦we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.” This last sentence implies that Emily killed her love Homer Barron, laid next to him, awaiting her own death. This paragraph final bring together the mystery of the disappearance of Homer Barron and the loneliness that consumed Emily. Before readers read the final paragraph, Emily has gained sympathy and even pity for her lonely and dark death. As stated by the narrator, “And so she died. Fell ill in the house filled with dust and shadowsâ€¦” Emily’s death was a long and lonely one-it is not until then end of the story that readers realize she had lain with her death love all the while awaiting her own demise. She had been lonely simply because she killed homer, yet readers are left wondering if Homer’s body left her with any conform in a sick way.
“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings”
What is the major theme of the story? How do the fantastic elements help provide insights into the way human beings actually think and behave?
“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” brings together realism with fantasy while exploring the human condition and treatment of others. The old man, considered an angel is looked upon as an peculiarity instead of a supernatural creature because of his age and appearance. The people of the town sum up his appearance into being a simple old man with wings, renouncing him as an angel because he lacks dignity. However, the people of the town fail to realize that they are the ones without dignity, locking up the angle in a chicken coop and demoralizing him. While in the chicken coop, the old man suffers at the hands of humans, forced to eat garbage, but his patience, which make him stand apart from any human, impresses no one. The elements of fantasy, such as angels, only add to the belief that humans are cynical, self-centered, and lacking in faith unless it comes with entertainment.
What is the principal irony in the story?
Within Frank O’Connor’s short story “The Drunkard” elements of humor and irony are developed together to create an amusing and truly ironic tale. Told through the eyes of Larry, a man remembering an event in his childhood, readers are introduced to the inner thoughts of a child observing his father’s daily drunken escapades. While attending a funeral, Larry’s mother sends her son to “guard” his father and try and stop him from drinking. Because of his curiosity, Larry drinks his father’s drink at a local pub after the funeral and ends up getting drunk and escorted home by his sober father. The story ends with his mother saying, “You were his guardian angel,” referring to the fact that the act of Larry getting drunk saved his father from drinking, perhaps forever. “The Drunkard” brings true irony into reader’s minds, by providing a story in which the son of an alcohol abusing father gets drunk in order to keep his father from drinking and then is escorted home by his sober father.
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