Nowadays, people tend to care too much what other people may think about them, sometimes making sacrifices beyond their possibilities, for the sake of appearances. The story “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant teaches us a very good life lesson regarding this issue and in another order of ideas, we can call it the deceptiveness of appearances. The main character of the story, Mathilde, never felt that the normal life she had fits her, and she always dreamed on being wealthy and making part of the social class. She had her change to bright for a couple of hours at a social ball, where her dream came true. She was the most beautiful and charming woman from the party, being help by his husband with a new expensive dress and by her friend who borrowed a diamond necklace. However, Mathilde paid a very big price for that.
At the end of the story, we found out that the necklace that Mathilde borrowed from her friend Madame Forestier, and lost it, was fake. She sacrificed ten years of her life for paying the necklace that she thought was real. "Oh, my poor Mathilde! But mine was imitation. It was worth at the very most five hundred francs! "(Maupassant, The Necklace). The necklace from Madame Forestier gave Mathilde the illusion of richness and value because Madame Forestier was her rich friend, a person she admired and who wanted be like her, being unthinkable that such a respectable lady could had a fake necklace in her jewelry collection. The fact that the necklace change from a cheap one to an expensive one and the lady didn’t notice suggest us that the appearance could be easily deceived, and the true value are influenced by our perception.
The story “Love in L.A.” by Dagoberto Gilb is treated in a realistic measure. All the traditional love story follow a clear pattern, as two strangers meeting and falling in love one for each other and day living happily after but “Love in L.A” doesn’t follow this pattern. It is a unique story love story with a twist in the end, but even it isn’t a traditional love story, it doesn’t disqualify on being a love story. The realism of the story is shaped by the personality of the two main characters, Jack and Marina. Jack is far from being the well-mannered man on a white horse, representing the opposite, being dishonest and self-absorbed. The second love theme in the story is the love that Jack has it from itself and his car and could me more important than the other. The writer of “Love in L.A.” leaves us the impression that the story is a desire for love at the most shallow and self-serving level.
This story is similar with “Ind AFF” by Franklin Birkinshaw and presents us the love story between an unmarried graduate student and his married history professor, which is also her thesis adviser, who are in vacation, in Yugoslavia. This trip was made for the professor to decide whether to leave his wife for his lover. Like the other story, this one was also an unexpected twist. The young woman, tired of the grumpiness, irritable, boring attitude that professor Peter has, and comes to her senses and escape from a bad and depressing situation. Comparative to the first story, here we also have the first contrasting, regarding the power of the women and the fact that she could go further without regrets.
The second contrast that appears comparing this both story was a length to the period when love story was presented. The first story tells us about a shy and uncertain beginning of a love story, but the second story finds the protagonist at the end of a love story.
Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and a short-story writer who lived in the nineteenth century. His fictional works were considered part of the Dark romanticism, his themes approached things like the sin of humanity and inherent evil; his stories often had moral messages and deep psychological complexity.
“The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne was a famous story that has in foreground, Aylmer, a late 18-century scientist who was totally dedicated into his work and who had recently married a beautiful woman named, Georgiana. The perfection of the woman was shadowed by a birthmark in a form of a hand that Georgiana had on her cheek.
“The crimson hand expressed the ineludible gripe in which mortality clutches the highest and purest of earthly mould, degrading them into kindred with the lowest, and even with the very brutes, like whom their visible frames return to dust. In this manner, selecting it as the symbol of his wife's liability to sin, sorrow, decay, and death, Aylmer's sombre imagination was not long in rendering the birthmark a frightful object.” (Hawthorne, The Birthmark)
This quote revealed Aylmer’s thought. He wanted her woman to be perfect in both ways, body and soul, and perhaps the birthmark itself wasn’t the problem, but rather the fact the she was an imperfect human being with same vices as someone else.
The message from this story is that nobody is perfect, and we should learn to accept people that we love with their imperfections because human being are necessarily imperfect and we shouldn’t throw away a good thing if isn’t exactly as what we wanted to be. Sometimes the little imperfection things build perfect relationships.
The plot of the story “Lust” by Susan Minot followed the conventional methods. The characters were well defined in the exposition and the central conflict regarded the main character that used her body to gain intimacy, the psychological consequences becoming the important point on this narration. In the end, she realized that she had paid a prize too big for hers sexual escapades. We found out from the narrator how tired, used and lonely this teenager was feeling after doing this supposed sexual freedom; in fact was trying to hide under this behavior her needed for love, affection and understanding from another human being. The story ends uncertain, leaving the reader wondering if she had learned something for his self-destructive actions and she will embrace the change that she needed in her life.
The most interesting thing that I found in this story is how Susan Minot treats the subject of a young girl vulnerability regarding theirs engaging on premarital sexual relationship. The book is a warning for the female readers who have sexual relationships with different partners and don’t have any emotional involvement is an issue that leads to damaging emotional consequences. A good example from the book regards the feelings of the main character that described the consequences as “an overwhelming sadness, an elusive gaping worry.” (Minot, Lust)
Minot was aware of the message that she wanted to transmit to the readers and made a good and careful articulated prose in order to express ideas and beliefs regarding this subject. The book was a wonderful life lesson for younger teenage girl; that had low self-esteem and they, usually, found them self in the situation on doing everything they could for a small act of kindness from a man.
The story “Girl” by Jamaica Kinkaid is it about the life lesson that a mother gave to her youngest daughter. Of course, this was just a guess because we didn’t find those things written in the monologue. We could assume, however that the central voice in the unnamed mother and by the way she was speaking makes us think it could have been her daughter. The voice interrupted her mother twice to protest her innocence, but her mother continued her directions. Kinkaid used here semicolons to separate the words of wisdom to the admonishment, and had repeated sentences to strengthen the idea.
The woman was telling her daughter a lot of useful advice, regarding how to manage things on life, and how to grow and transform to a beautiful and intelligent woman. Most of those were practical advices of how to wash the color clothes, how to cook a good meal, how to set a table, how to iron or how to behave in society, not to sing any Antiguan folk song on the Sunday school, not to squat while playing marble and the most important thing, to always walk and talk like a lady. She also taught her how a romantic relationship works and that one day she will find a man, warning her that sometimes a woman and men “bully” each other. She told to the girl how to smile at the persons the she didn’t like and how to smile at the person that she likes a lot and also how to avoid evil spirits.
I have been in a similar situation, my mother always told me what to do. Over time, it proved to be very useful even if when I was a child, I didn’t was on the same opinion. I founded her annoying and nagging but after I grew up, when I had a problem I remember all the advices that she gave me, it was all in my head I could hear her voice directing me on making the best choice.
“Popular Mechanics” by Raymond Carver was the story of a couple with big issues, who were described in the middle of their last fight. The message that Carver was trying to transmit is that people don’t have healthy communication anymore with each other, and they don’t know how to express their feeling in order to be understood by their life partner. They get angry very quickly, and they don’t have the necessary patient to deal with the real problems, so they are satisfied with a simple solution on argue and eventually leave. This is a real issue nowadays because married couples are more likely to break up than to sit and solve with more communication, and to understand each other's needs and desire. This story sends a warning in hopes that couples will try to change this attitude especially when a child appears in the middle.
Another important point that Carver is trying to highlight in this story is that when a couple has issues of communication, the baby is always in the middle and is the one who suffer most. In the book, we have very clear example of this because the baby appears in the middle of his parent’s physical fight. The both parents were controlling one of the baby’s arms by pulling it and in the same time, arguing who should have the baby. The baby started to cry because it was in pain, and the parents hurt him in the pulling and grasping game of power. In the end, the story leaves as with an understatement on the final sentence “He felt the baby slipping out of his hands and he pulled back very hard. In this manner, the issue was decided.” (Carver, Popular Mechanics). We don’t know for sure what happened in the end; the author leaves it to us to interpret the ending. The worst macabre scenario could be the breaking of the baby in two, but this hypothesis could be treated only on a metaphorical level.
The irony of this story is also linked to the final quotation above and is about the irony of the situation in which parents where and ambiguous manner in which the story ends bringing out the irony within the verbal communication which runs between the two partners. The use of style, tone and irony gives the story a tangled reading but also clearly convincing.
“The Story of the Good Little Boy” by Mark Twain is a short story that was published in 1875 and was the mirror of the story “The Story of the Bad Little Boy.” The first story puts us in front a young boy named Jacob Blivens who did everything right and desired nothing more than to be good. He never lied, never stolen, never cheated but bad things still happens to him.
The book was a Mark Twain’s observation on literature written by poor authors, poorly written fiction, whose in the author’s opinion was clearly connected to the Sunday school books. The boy wanted to be the best he can be, just as good as the characters in the story that he read. He remarked on the reading that people who did good things were always rewarded with good things, and this was also his wish. In the end, the story had a twist, and the good boy had a tragic and catastrophic end. He was always nice with the bad kids but one day, when he was walking along the factory, he saw some children picking up on some dogs, he tried to make the right thing but the blame fell on him. After that, the factory exploded scattering on the air pieces of the dog and the boy.
Good things happened always to people that did good things and bad things happened always to people that did bad things is the lesson that we learn on Sunday’s school books but this story doesn’t follow this pattern. The reason was simple; this wasn’t the way of the world worked. Often people who did bad things succeed because they did those things, and people who did good things can often be far worse. You must give people a more powerful reason for being good, more the de fear of doing the right things if not, bad people can happen to them because bad things inevitably happen.
“55 Miles to the Gas Pump” by Annie Proulx is a macabre, gory and revolting story that talks about a married couple who lived 12 years together without noticing that they lived separately life and the story mocks the lack of normality and decency. Also could by a story that made fun of the uncivilized country life that those people were leaving along, far away from any community of human beings. This is one of the reasons for their strange, creepy and abnormal behavior in lack of civilization and human contact and the issues that this absence can do to unstable, lonely minds.
The story is short, I think this is the shortest story I’ve ever read. It has 226 words divided into two slim paragraphs and a separate final sentence. This form of story provides a necessary counterbalance to the main subject. The first paragraph describes the physical appearance of Rancher Croom, how he makes his beer and in the end how he takes his life, throwing him away from the canon cliffs at one night of drinking. The second paragraph presents us his wife, Mrs. Croom, who discovered the dead body for the former lovers that his husband had in the past, hidden in the attic. The body were“covered with tarry handprints, the marks of boot heels, some bright blue with the remnants of paint used on the shutters years ago, one wrapped in newspaper nipple to knee.” (Proulx, 55 Miles to the Gas Pump) The last sentence “When you live a long way out you make your own fun.” (Proulx, 55 Miles to the Gas Pump) can be an excuse for their unusual behavior but is a shocking, ridiculous and amusing, and also could be the moral of this dark, black humorous story.
De Maupassant, Guy. The Necklace. Short Stories.Web. 11 october 2014. http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/Neck.shtml
Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Birthmark. The Literature Network. Web. 11 october 2014. http://www.online-literature.com/poe/125/
Minot, Susan. Lust and other stories. Vintage, 2000. Print
Carver, Raymond. Popular Mechanics. Web. 11 october 2014 http://www.mccc.edu/pdf/eng101/fall2011/Carver%20Raymond_%20Popular%20Mechanics.pdf
Proulx, Annie. 55 Miles to the Gas Pump. Biblioklept. 11 october 2014. http://biblioklept.org/2011/01/22/55-miles-to-the-gas-pump-annie-proulx/