Personal Opinions Of Short Stories English Literature Essay

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Teen Sniper. The short story Teen Sniper is certainly not one of my favorites of the many that I have read. Although I thought that the plot of the story was unique and the idea intriguing, it seemed to me that the story failed to meet my expectations. It was cold and stark which made it very difficult for me to stay interested. I also feel that the story lacked any suspense. I felt no urge to turn the next page, no eagerness to to read further. Although I did find that the main character, Tim, was relatable he also seemed to me to be the only character that was so. I think this may be due to the very large difference in the world that is presented in the story and the world that we live in. This story is set in the future, and although it is probably not more than fifty years, the story lacked too much information about this new world, which rendered the plot unrelatable and almost unbelievable. Also I didn't find that I was particularly rooting for the character of Tim. His success or failure with his relationship with the character Seema, did not really have any effect on me, nor did his interactions with any of the other various characters in the story. 

    Another factor that affected my opinion of the story was the style that is was written in. Specifically there was nothing wrong with it. It was descriptive enough and the diction was adequate, but it failed to move me. it was just plain, like the author only chose words that were absolutely necessary to get the story out. it is only a matter of opinion, but my favorite books and stories are those with beautiful prose. Writing that flows off the page and brilliant metaphors. The style "Teen Sniper" was written in contained none of those elements and therefor failed to impress me. 

Tapka

David Bezmozgs

I found the story "Tapka" by David Bezmozgs rather boring. I found that I could not really get into the story that was just about a little dog. I also thought that the plot was rather predictable, which further added to my dislike. However I did find that this story was quite believable and realistic, especially the personalities and actions of the children . Their obsession with the dog, their eagerness to swear and the fun they find in breaking that rule, and their silly little fight that led to the climax of the story. I also found the elderly couple who owned Tapka to be believable characters. Some people really are quite attached to their animals, especially dogs, and I though that the author did a good job of describing their reaction and making their grief believable.  

I also have to say that what mainly caused my dislike for this story was the writing style. It really did not appeal to me. It did not draw me in or make me want to continue reading. It relayed the story well enough but other then doing its main job it was nothing special. All of these features combined I found the story quite forgettable, and certainly not one I would like to read again. 

Travis B

This is the first story that I have read so far that I actually have gotten into. The story, though simple, kept me interested with a socially awkward protagonist, funny scenes and a basic yet compelling writing style.  The main character, Chet Moran, was a very compelling character, however I don't feel as if his personality stayed consistent throughout the story.

In the beginning it was told that Chet rode wild ponies to prove to his mother that he was invincible. From this small bit of information I gained the impression that Chet was outgoing, fearless and somewhat of a risk taker. However, when it came to his meeting of Beth Travis his actions seemed to go completely against my original impression. He was shy and nervous and did not at all give off the impression of invincibility but rather that of fragility. I also was quite confused about his age when I found of he was only 22. From the way he was described before his meeting with Beth I was under the impression that he middle-aged so his youth was a bit shocking.   

Another element to the story I found a bit surprising and unrealistic was his immediate fervent liking for the teacher Beth Travis. I Understand infatuation can come on quite strongly and suddenly but somehow I felt as if it didn't quite fit in this story. I Also thought that the ending was rather weak. His ten second encounter with her at her work was too short and therefore unconvincing. I think more dialogue was needed or more action from Chet's end. 

Overall I found this story entertaining and engaging. Though I think there were a few mistakes, as far as the stories I have read so far, this one is the best.

The Balm of the Gilead Tree

Robert Morgan

The first thing that struck me about this story is that it is highly unbelievable. The idea that people would loot dead bodies from a plane crash is disgusting and unrealistic. Of course there are those few despicable people who would do such a thing, but this story tells of almost an entire town looting the dead after a tragedy. Unless this story is meant to have been told from some sort of alternate world, I find this plot to be almost unacceptable. Another unbelievable element to the story was that of the actions of the cops and helicopters. Their actions in clearing the scene and arresting looters is believable, but their violence and quick decision to kill looters is incredibly unrealistic. Their focus would be almost 100 percent on locating and identifying the dead, and attempting to save anyone who may still be living, not using their resources such as helicopters to locate looters, if in fact there were any. 

Despite the obvious realism downfalls of this story I was able to get into the mind of the protagonist and somewhat root for him. He still seemed human behind his horrible act of looting and I found myself hoping that he wouldn't get caught. I also enjoyed the ending of the story. It left a sense of mystery, and the reader is allowed to create the ending that makes them happy. 

Altogether I did not like this story, mostly because it was simply too unrealistic to take seriously so I was unable to fully engage in what I was reading. 

The Knife Thrower

This story was incredibly engaging and definitely my favourite so far. The plot was believable, the writing was good, and I especially like the narrator and how he was used in the story. I though the plot was unique and really played on the fascination that humans have with danger. The antagonist, Hensch, really reminded me of the protagonist in the movie "The Illusionist" who was a fanatic magician, obsessed with taking his magic to the next level and taking risks. In the end it was his downfall, and it seems to me that this is where the story was heading, for although Hensch entertained his audience, they all left with the same feelings of unease.

What made those feelings of the audience clear was the narrator of the story. What I really loved about him was that although he sat in the audience with everyone else he seemed like more of a floating entity, like what was going on wasn't just coming from his head but he could pick up on the emotions and thoughts of the other audience members as well but relay them in a very subtle way. Through this the narrator was able to fully draw me into the story and kept me wanting to turn the page. 

The writing in this story is also some of the best that I have read to far out of this booklet. The style was simple but very descriptive; it made me feel as if I was truly sitting in the audience with everyone else, applauding with everyone after each dangerous trick and cowering when the pale women swept the crowd for volunteers. 

I thought this was a great short story. It was engaging, descriptive, unique and well written, and definitely the best of the bunch so far.  

Dispatch

Madeline Thien

I absolutely loved this story. The writing style was completely unique and not just the different point of view. The way the story was told completely drew me in. The juxtaposition between the illusion and reality was extremely intriguing, and I found it satisfying at the end when you are finally told that what you think is illusion really is. I also found that this story, though somewhat unbelievable, was also realistic. The ending with the husband and wife, both grieving over different people, still stay together because they both need each other to get through their loss. I feel like this was a beautiful and heartbreaking part of the story. You almost wanted both of them to be strong and just separate and move on with their lives but the fact that they stayed together was realistic, because sometimes love is not what you think it is, and this couple showcased that. 

Altogether this is definitely my favourite story of all the ones I have read from out booklet so far, and probably one of the best short stories I have ever read. The writing that was beautiful, flowing and unique told a story that also had all of those qualities. It was very lovely to read. 

No Great Mischief

Alistair MacLeod

So this is basically a story about two brothers. The story begins with a memory of fruit and vegetable picking on the farms of the protagonists hometown. This is a somewhat happy seen, punctuated only by the grief of the protagonists grandmother who is sad to see the farms being ploughed with the over ripened fruit being mashed into the fields. From here the story changed dramatically, with a very noticeable shift in mood as well. The protagonist drives to what seems like the drug district of some large city. 

A great part of this story was the description of the surrounding as the protagonist enters this part of town and describes the building and the depressing scenery with its pitiable occupants. 

From here the protagonists enters a dilapidated building and we are introduced to a man, a drunk, and an obvious relative of the protagonist and a short story unfolds where these two characters talk about their past and eventually you discover that they are brothers. 

This story was quite realistic in its descriptions, from people to behaviours. The description of the alcoholic was simple, detailed and powerful. What I also thought was great was the emotions of the protagonist when he was with his drunk brother. His obvious want to be there from the long journey he makes, to the relief he feels when he gets to leave. Human emotions are complicated and I thought the author did a brilliant job in capturing them in this story. 

The Southern Thruway

Julio Cortazar

This story is about a traffic jam that happens outside of France on Sunday in August, however this particular traffic jam lasts for many months. The story basically follows this one man caught in the jam, and the happenings over the months that the people sit and wait for traffic to continue moving. The protagonist (they never give names) begins a relationship with a girl, he refers to her as "Dauphine" because that is the car she drives. However when the traffic jam is finally over, the man fails to get her number. They both get into their separate vehicles and drive away.  

I found this story very interesting, though not completely enjoyable. I liked the world created by Cortazar, but I feel like he left plenty of the rules and restrictions of this world out of the story. It was never explained how this mass of people were getting food, or how they were able to get gas to continue to run their cars. Nor did it ever explain exactly why a traffic jam lasted for half a year. I feel as if that information is pivotal in a story such as this, its success depends on it, for without this information the reader is left unsatisfied and the world seem unrealistic even if it is fantastic. Altogether it is an intriguing story, though slightly flawed. 

Sea Oak

Wow. I really very much disliked this story.  I had a very hard time finishing it. I feel like the beginning and then the end with Aunt Bernie coming back as a zombie were not at all connected and didn't really make any sense. Also I feel like if your going to make a character come back as a zombie, and because this is such a huge move to make in a story, that character needs to last as a zombie for more that 24 hours.  Needless to say I found this story very unrealistic. Obviously the zombie part was not meant to be but the characters in general were rather unbelievable. The cousin and sister were a bit too dumb, and I did not really like them as characters. Also I feel like it was incredibly unrealistic how the characters simply accepted suddenly having their dead aunt back in their house as a zombie. They never once questioned how she came back and she never explained herself and I think that left a huge gap in the story. 

Basically I just found this story disturbing. From beginning to end I really did not like it and did not want to continue reading it. It was crude, unrealistic, and the writing was not very impressive. Definitely NOT my favourite thing I have ever read.  

 

The Princess and the Plumber

This story is about a plumber who falls in love with a princess. First he goes to see her and he tells her that he loves her and wants her to marry him. The princess rejects the plumber immediately, claiming that she is too good for him, for of course she is a princess. The plumber leaves but has no intention of giving up. He goes home and builds a marriage machine, and the next day goes to the castle to present the machine to the princess, sure that it will impress her enough to marry him. When he gets there a maid opens the door, when the plumber tells the maid who he is the maid leaves claiming that she is going to get the princess but she never comes back. Finally the plumber leaves but on his way out he gets stopped by a talking frog. The frog tells him that he is giving up too easily and that the princess does not want gadgets, she wants a man who is greater than her. The plumber leaves, angry and the frog. He gets on a bus to go home and sits beside a young girl who tells him she is in a nightmare and not to speak to her. The next day the plumber goes back to the castle, but when the maid answers the door he is shocked to find that she has shrivelled away and is extremely thin. The plumber asks her what happened and she tell him that a terrible plague has fallen over the castle and everyone is wasting away and dying. Unable to see the princess the plumber leaves and again sees the frog. The frog tells him that it is his fault that everyone in the castle is sick. Again the plumber leaves, angry at the frog, and gets on the bus where he once again sits next to the same little girl who now looks ill from her nightmare. The next day the plumber goes back to the castle to find the princess dead, and a new frog who talks to him, but one who was young yesterday and is an old man today. The plumber cries. 

This story made absolutely no sense to me. I feel like maybe I missed something, but all the pages were in my book. If the reason for everyone getting sick really was the plumber, why wasn't that explained? And who was the girl on the bus? I am very confused, and do not like this story. There are way too many holes, I feel like maybe it just wasn't completed. 

Sharks

Courtney Eldridge

This story is basically an entire phone conversation between a man and a women on the phone. These people are best friends, and the women is telling the man about this house on a beach that she just got and her first weekend there. She invites the man up for a weekend, he accepts the invitation and says it would be nice to lay on the beach. He then suggests that they go swimming sometime at their local pool. At this point the women tells the man that she has a terrible fear of sharks and she cant swim in pools. The man asks why she would be afraid of sharks being in pools and the women goes on to tell him that she heard of science experiments where sharks were being placed in pools and she always feels like they are going to attack her and so she will never swim in pools. This conversation goes on for a while and then the man gives up trying to convince the girl that there are not sharks in pools.

This was a very strange story. I didn't really see the point or purpose to it. It didn't seem to really have a theme or a message to relay, it was simply a conversation between friends. The writing style was unique and it didn't necessarily bother me but I didn't see much point in it either. It didn't add anything to the story, though nor did it take anything away. Altogether this was a strange story that I did not find interesting or appealing. 

Black

This is another story did not at all understand. Why did Suzy become so cold? Why did she lose her hair? Why did she never cry? She seemed like a normal happy child and the transition from that to her teenage years made no sense to me. Also why did she not see Morris as her dad when she has lived with him since she was five years old? Again this is another story with way too many holes in it. I fell like writers try to make an impact by writing in this fashion. They try to stretch the boundaries. But to me, they don't get anywhere. If their readers do not understand their story then what exactly have they accomplished? If this story had been better developed, maybe a novel, with all of the holes filled in, this seems like it could be a very successful, tragic story. But as it is written now, I feel very unsatisfied and confused. Once again I did not understand the purpose of the story and I saw no theme except maybe that death is inevitable. I don't have a lot to say about this one simply because I really had no idea what was going on through out its entirety.  

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