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Comparison of Two Short Stories: Mrs. Pulaska by Christopher Burns and My Good Fairy by Christopher Hope

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Comparison of two short stories: Mrs. Pulaska by Christopher Burns and

My Good Fairy by Christopher Hope

Mrs. Pulaska and My Good Fairy are both stories in which a child describes a memory of a certain person. Both stories are written in the past tense “She had sought refuge among us” and “Nicomedus was a big giver”. Both stories are also written in the first person, so the viewpoint is the same. In Mrs. Pulaska a child tells about Mrs. Pulaska’s role in the community and how she differed so much from the normal people. In My good Fairy a child tells about Nicomedus, a generous person who actually is nobody. The narrator tells about his relation with this person and what kind of person Nicomedus was. In both the introductions the narrator is a child, in Mrs. Pulaska the narrator uses “my schoolfriends and me”. The roles of these narrators are the same. They tell about what they know about the person in the story, and how they feel about them.

In Mrs. Pulaska the title person is the central character, everything said in the story refers to her. In My Good Fairy Nicomedus is the main character. Both may be seen as people outside of the community but they’re portrayed in different ways. Mrs. Pulaska is someone people are afraid of “An emissary from an unknown world”, this tells us people don’t understand her. It’s also someone people despise, she wears only black clothes and mittens, which suggest that she is mourning over someone, maybe her husband, but since the people in the town don’t know they find the way she acts rather bizarre.

Nicomedus is a friend of the narrator; he was generous “a big giver” even though he looked poor. He was a servant of the people who lived in the house; he calls the child lord. He could make things appear out of nowhere and it was someone who was trusted. Nicomedus is not a real person. In the story the sentence “He’d wink or clap and suddenly something would appear” confirms this. It suggests he could be someone magical, or he had other powers, not something a normal person would do. Nicomedus was a very old and tiny person; he was already there when people entered the house. He was stored with other old and broken stuff (broken ladders, Trotters’ jellies), the things lay there quite a while so Nicomedus is old. It could be that Nicomedus was actually a puppet, or an imaginary friend of the boy, since he is the one who seems to have the best friendship with him, and knows him the best. He looked like nothing, but for the boy he was everything.

This is a huge difference compared to the story of Mrs. Pulaska, who is in fact a real person. So in both stories the main character didn’t fit into the community, but both for very different reasons. Both the persons however have got some of the same characteristics. They are both skinny (Mrs. Pulaska even looks undernourished) and they’ve both got black hair.

The minor characters in the story are both the narrators, they’re both portrayed as children, but the first one fears the main character while the second one sees the main character as a friend, as “My Good Fairy”. However you get to know a lot about these minor characters, they’re very important for the story and can be seen as central characters as well. You pity Mrs. Pulaska; she probably had an extremely rough and difficult life. “Denied to her for ever by forces of history” because of the war she has lost the world she has once had, and that’s explained in this sentence. It makes the narrator of the first introduction look like he or she doesn’t understand the situation Mrs. Pulaska is in, so not really a kind person. The boy in My Good Fairy looks as someone who needs a lot of guidance and is easily scared alone, but he is a kind person. So the minor characters differ a lot in personality. Other minor characters in Mrs. Pulaska are the other people in the town who look the same way at the main character as the narrator does, all the people saw her

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