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Short Story Analysis

1784 words - 8 pages

Assignment 4
12.27.2012
Short Story Analysis

When people live in a sheltered environment with a paved driveway and freshly mowed lawn, they forget that they share the world with others, who live in a much darker environment. Their environment lacks much more than paved driveways and freshly mowed lawns. Most of these people are even deprived of the basic needs like a safe community, peace or their sanity. The authors of Young Goodman Brown, The Red Convertible, The Lone Ranger and Sonny’s Blues expose us to an obscure society; one where people find themselves in bleak situations. Life for these people is just a big question mark; a question that doesn’t have a straightforward ...view middle of the document...

I helped your grandfather, the constable, when he lashed the Quaker women ….. and it was I that brought your father … to set fire to an Indian village. They were my good friends, both: and many a pleasant walk have we had along this path, and returned merrily after midnight” (Hawthorne 830). This quote and his encounter with other “honest Christians” led Goodman Brown to embark on his “evil journey”. He considered himself to be “an honest race of men and good Christians” that would never make a deal with the devil. However the elderly man told him otherwise. Brown’s grandfather and father went on the same “evil journey” as him. This underlines the hypocrisy that overshadows our society. It is a fault in public morality where the immense pressure from society to adopt faith leads to weakened private faith. People like Goody Cloyse and the woman who taught catechism to Brown in his youth were hypocrites who were more concerned with how their faith appeared to other people, that their inner faith was faulted and they had a deal with the devil. Hawthorne uses these characters to symbolize regular people in society who attend religious ceremonies everyday but fail to do any good in society. Their morality is weakened because it was never their morality to begin with, but a faith that was passed on to them by society.
The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich is the desolate narration of a memorable relationship between two brothers. This story reflects on the big question of mental suffering and war. Is it ethical to hold war prisoners? Can we blame people who are internally suffering and are societies expectations normal when they expect prisoners of war to live a normal life after all the terrible things they have seen in their lives?
In The Red Convertible, the two brothers lived their youth in happiness. Although they lived in a gloomy society affected by poverty and war, the brothers didn’t have a worry in the world and drove that red convertible together. The red convertible symbolized the carefree life the brothers shared before one of them had to leave for war. It symbolized their freedom and companionship. However, this companionship and freedom was damaged when Henry becomes a prisoner of war. The war completely changed Henry’s demeanor. A young man who had a great sense of humor was scared to smile. The narrator describes him as: “He'd always had a joke, then too, and now you could not get him to laugh” (Erdrich 405). Henry’s horrific experience in Vietnam made him overreact to stimuli such as colored television. Besides Henry, there are hundreds of other war prisoners and soldiers who lose their personalities forever. Erdrcih uses bleak imagery like “Stillness that you see in a rabbit before it is about to bolt”, to describe how Henry was ticking timebomb and it was only a matter of time before his mental illness completely takes over him. Lyman was sick of watching his brother suffer and wanted him to come back to his normal ways. He...

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