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Analysis of Short Stories

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Analysis of Short Stories

In “Hunters in the Snow”, Tobias Wolff defines what it is to be American as someone hiding the truth and seeking to become free from the burdens of life. There are many instances where Mr. Wolff talks about lies in the book. Frank lies about his affair with the babysitter, Kenny doesn’t tell the guys he was asked to shoot the dog, and Tub lies about having a gland problem being the reason why he was fat. All these lies lead to high tension and eventually conflict. When Kenny joking sounds like he is about ready to shoot Tub, Tub has the automatic reaction and shoots Kenny in the stomach. This leads to Tub and Frank coming clean with each other. This is their way of letting go and becoming free of their web of lies they have created. Towards the end of the story Tobias Wolff talks about the “Big Dipper... (12)” and “the North Star… (12). This is hinting towards the freedom that all three characters are trying to achieve and how they are trying to gain freedom like the slaves of the south used the stars to escape to the north, to freedom. Although in Kenny’s case it is false hope because for him he is not going to the hospital, so you can infer her will gain his freedom by going to heaven. So thus you can see many instances of lying like Tub saying "When I said that about my glands, that wasn't true. The truth is I just shovel it in. (11)” and there is also moments of escaping the lies like in the truck when Frank and Tub open up to each other.

“April Showers” by Edith Wharton Americans are described as trying to make yourself into something like the reason that many Englanders came to America in the first place, because you could make yourself and you didn’t have to have royal blood. You learn about a teenage girl who has just completed writing a 500 page novel and sent it to a publisher to see if they will publish it. The girl’s mother is sick and so she has been bestowed to do all the motherly work in the house but due to the novel she has fallen behind and he father has been giving her a hard time about it. "Your novel, 'April Showers,' has been received, and we are glad to accept it on the usual terms. (4)” At this time in the novel the reader begins to think oh my goodness this girl has made herself. She is a novelist now. The town she lives in becomes ecstatic when the find out that she was going to have her publication in stores in midsummer and congratulated her often. Then comes midsummer and the story that is published with the title “April Showers” is by the girls favorite author and so the girl leaves home in the early morning totally ignoring all of her chores and go to find out what happened at the publishers place. It turns out there was a mishap and both the girl and the big time author had submitted stories with the same names and the girl received an acceptance letter by accident. When returning home on the train the girl realizes that she is going to be in big trouble for just leaving the house but her dad is actually at the station when she gets to the train station and he tells her how he had attempted to write a novel and got rejected to and didn’t want her to experience the depressing walk back home by herself. Towards the beginning of the novel you could actually relate the Father to England (pre-revolution) and Ben Franklins Father And Brother. The Girl in the story can be related to America and Ben Franklin because she is trying to make something of herself and there is another force constantly trying to tell her she can’t. In the end the we realize the dad is actually trying to help the girl make herself but just wanted her to make her own mistakes to learn from.

The story “Mother Tongue” depicts Americans as people that try to change themselves in order to please others. The narrator of the story is an Asian American Author that has perfected her English skills enough that she sounds American. On the other hand though her mother speaks broken or limited English and the girl is constantly embarrassed by this. The author uses educated English when talking to groups and writing but when she’s with her family she switches back to the way her family talks in the broken Chinese English (Page 1 summarized). The narrator discusses instances in her life where her mother had been discriminated against for her broken English and she realizes how it was wrong for her to try and lead a double life and try to hide her family background. On page 4 the author finally decides to not hide behind a mask but yet just be herself, “I began to write stories using all the English’s I grew up with…(4)” I think Amy Tan wanted to prove a point in this story and show people that you shouldn’t hide behind a lie but just be truthful and be yourself and don’t conform to what people want/expect you to be or do.

Nathaniel

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