Analysis: “Greasy Lake” by T.Coraghessan Boyle

“When the eastern half of the sky went from black to cobalt and the trees began to separate themselves from the shadows, I pushed myself up from the mud and stepped out into the open. By now the birds had begun to take over for the crickets, and dew lay slick on the leaves. There was a smell in the air, raw and sweet at the same time, the smell of the sun firing buds and opening blossoms. I contemplated the car. It lay there like a wreck along the highway, like a steel sculpture left over from a vanished civilization. Everything was still. This was nature.”

The plot in this short story was better developed as you have a few extreme moments of tension and anxiety with the character. Not only does he lose the keys to the car, but they mistake a stranger for their friend, get the butts kicked, bring him down with a tire iron, then get close to raping this stranger’s date; he then proceeds to hide in a lake and come face-to-face with a dead man floating in the lake. I was wondering at that moment if the girl and her rescuers would find him in the lake next to this dead man and assume that he was the murderer.  This character was very lucky to have gotten away innocently!

The passage for me created a turning point in the story…a calm after the storm sort of speak. After all the chaos from that night had ended, the main character was left with nature to go onward with the following day and try to repair what was broken, literally and figuratively. He found his other friends in the woods, then they found the car and the keys.  Suddenly they were approached with one more temptation of a beautiful, yet stoned woman offering to do drugs with them. She was also possibly looking for the man who owned the motorcycle parked in the lot, the man who may have been the one floating dead in the lake. Luckily, the guys got smart and knew that they needed to get out of there fast and start their lives over again.

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Analysis:”Optimists” by Richard Ford

“The most important things of your life can change so suddenly, so unrecoverably, that you can forget even the most important of them and their connections, you are so taken up by the chanciness of all that’s happened and by all that could and will happen next.”

This passage had such depth and meaning in that it encompasses what goes on “behind the scenes” on a minute-to-minute basis for each us, without us even realizing it. I am a firm believer in things happening for a reason, but I know many believe in coincidence.  We encounter different dramatic things in our lives that forever change our paths until the day we day. One minute your life seems normal, you wake up, go to school/work, come home to your family and/or your pets, then you go to bed for the next day.  Then, in an instant you can be in a horrible accident leaving you paralyzed for life, or you can have the best day of your life and win the $265 million lottery! Either way “the chips fall” for you, you do not know what will happen next. Therefore we each must live our lives each day as though they are our last and always try to treat others as though we ourselves would want to be treated (the Golden Rule no matter what religion you believe in).

When these dramatic events happen to us, life does stop for at least a minute or several. Our life’s memories go flashing through our minds and suddenly the world and life as we know it will forever have a new meaning for us.  It is our duty to accept whatever happens and make the most out of it…we must make lemonade with all the lemons we are given!

As for the character, Frank, he seems to take on a role of true independence at a very early age because of the traumatic event he witnessed with his dad killing a man.  The development from how calm he seemed to be when the event happened to suddenly leaving for the Army and not seeing his parents for years afterward left me hanging however.  This fictitious story was very captivating up until the moment in the end when his dad gets sent to jail.

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Analysis: “The Lady with the Pet Dog” by Anton Chekhov

“So it rumbled below when there was no Yalta, no Oreanda here; so it rumbles now, and it will rumble as indifferently and as hollowly when we are no more. And, in this constancy, in this complete indifference to the life and death of each of us, there lies, perhaps, a pledge of our eternal salvation, of the unceasing advance of life upon earth, of unceasing movement towards perfection.”

This passage left an impression on me as I used to go a lot to the beach to relax, ponder on life and the meaning of it when I was growing up in Florida.  I would go a lot at night when no one was tanning, playing or running on the beach, where it was just me, the waves, the sand, the breeze, the moon and the sky.  There is something truly magical about the beach at night.  One time, I even became a witness to a moon rise right over the ocean.  From my point of view, it looked as though the moon rose right out the ocean. I was completely moved and awestruck by this and began thinking about all the wonderful moments in my life up to that point and all the great moments that I looked forward to sharing with someone in my future.

This passage really delves into the quiet, emptiness this couple may have felt at that moment when they knew what they were doing was wrong, but for those brief moments looking out at the water, everything around them stopped and didn’t matter. What mattered is that they were together and happiness even if for a brief moment.

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Analysis: “Rapture” by Anton Chekhov

“Rapture” by Anton Chekhov

The particular passage that reached out to me in this short story was, “Oh, you lie here like savages, you don’t read the papers, you’ve no ideas what’s going on, and the papers are full of such remarkable things!” This is reminiscent of the general attitude that most young people have of their parents, that their parents have lesser knowledge than them. I found it quite comical to read that his parents were still asleep when Mitya was just coming home in the very early hours of the morning when that morning’s edition of the paper was just being released, and Mitya presumed that his parents did not care about reading the news. His attitude toward his parents as well as his lack of concern that he woke his entire family up sets the stage for his arrogance through to the end of the story. The end of the story leaves you empty-handed and feeling unfulfilled.

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