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Short Story Explication Essay (Essay Sample)

I will send 3 separate file : 1 is the instruction 2. story : How I met my husband 3. story : Miss Brill Please check & let me know Assignment 1: Short Story Explication Essay (How I met my Husband by Alice Munro) & (Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield) : 2 short stories write an essay which includes your explication (interpretation) of each poem. You must find connections or similarities which allow you to link the stories together. The following guidelines will help you plan and envision your essay. Ultimately, this essay will be three pages in length. The following can serve as a general outline for your explications. You will have to decide what your essay should include or not include. Just be sure your explication is thorough and organized. I. Introduction a. (Include such items as what are the titles of the short stories, the authors, and the themes which you think connect the stories.) II. Body Paragraphs will include: Type of Stories (Is it a suspenseful story? Is it a tragic, comedic or historical allegory?) Paraphrasing of text/include direct quotes Traits and examples/explanations This is where you discuss and explain the connections between the stories. Be sure to only discuss one topic/main idea per paragraph. For instance, you might want to discuss the symbols in the stories or maybe the characters…but don't try to focus and illustrate more than one idea per paragraph. Exploration of Theme (Propose what the theme is and support/defend your interpretation. The object is to show that you have reached a reasonable conclusion. What evidence supports your interpretation?) Evaluation (Make judgments about the story. SUGGESTIONS/EXAMPLES: How well did the author do at making his/her point or creating an intended mood or other impact? Which elements were the strongest or weakest and why? Were some symbols particularly interesting or effective and why? Conclusion/Personal reactions (SUGGESTIONS/EXAMPLES: What did you like or not like and why? How did you feel after reading the poem? Did it give you a new perspective or was it trite and why? Did it relate to you, or was it so foreign an idea that it did not seem to pertain to you, and why?) 1 How I met My Husband - Alice Munro How I Met My Husband Alice Munro We heard the plane come over at noon, roaring through the radio news, and we were sure it was going to hit the house, so we all ran out into the yard. We saw it come in over the treetops, all red and silver, the first close--up plane I ever saw. Mrs. Peebles screamed. “Crash landing,” their little boy said. Joey was his name. “It's okay,” said Dr. Peebles. “He knows what he's doing.” Dr. Peebles was only an animal doctor, but had a calming way of talking, like any doctor. This was my first job--working for Dr. and Mrs. Peebles, who had bought an old house out on the Fifth Line, about five miles out of town. It was just when the trend was starting of town people buying up old farms, not to work them but to live on them. We watched the plane land across the road, where the fairgrounds used to be. It did make a good landing field, nice and level for the old race track, and the barns and display sheds torn down now for scrap lumber so there was nothing in the way. Even the old grandstand bays had burned. “All right,” said Mrs. Peebles, snappy as she always was when she got over her nerves. “Let's go back in the house. Let's not stand here gawking like a set of farmers.” She didn't say that to hurt my feelings. It never occurred to her. I was just setting the dessert down when Loretta Bird arrived, out of breath, at the screen door. “I thought it was going to crash into the house and kill youse all!” She lived on the next place and the Peebleses thought she was a country--woman, they didn't know the difference. She and her husband didn't farm, he worked on the roads and had a bad name for drinking. They had seven children and couldn't get credit at the Hi Way Grocery. The Peebleses made her welcome, not knowing any better, as I say, and offered her dessert. Dessert was never anything to write home about, at their place. A dish of Jell--O or sliced bananas or fruit out of a tin. “Have a house without a pie, be ashamed until you die,” my mother used to say, but Mrs. Peebles operated differently. Loretta Bird saw me getting the can of peaches. “Oh, never mind,” she said. “I haven't got the right kind of a stomach to trust what comes out of those tins, I can only eat home canning.” I could have slapped her. I bet she never put down fruit in her life. “I know what he's landed here for,” she said. “He's got permission to use the fairgrounds and take people up for rides. It costs a dollar. It's the same fellow who was over at Palmerston last week and was up the lakeshore before that. I wouldn't go up, ii you paid me.” “I'd jump at the chance,” Dr. Peebles said. “I'd like to see this neighbor--hood from the air.” Mrs. Peebles said she would just as soon see it from the ground. Joey said he wanted to go and Heather did, too. Joey was nine and Heather was seven. “Would you, Edie?” Heather said. I said I didn't know. I was scared, but I never admitted that, especially in front of children I was taking care of. “People are going to be coming out here in their cars raising dust and trampling your property, if I was you I would complain,” Loretta said. She hooked her legs around the chair rung and I knew we were in for a lengthy visit. After Dr. Peebles went back to his office or out on his next call and Mrs. Peebles went for her nap, she would hang around me while I was trying to do the dishes. She would pass remarks about the Peebleses in their own house. “She wouldn't find time to lay down in the middle of the day, if she had seven kids like I got.” She asked me did they fight and did they keep things in the dresser drawer not to have babies with. She said it was a sin if they did. I pretended I didn't know what she was talking about. I was fifteen and away from home for the first time. My parents had made the effort and sent me to high school for a year, but I didn't like it. I was shy of strangers and the work was hard, they didn't make it nice for you or explain the way they do now. At the end of the year the averages were published in the paper, and mine came out at the very bottom, 37 percent. My father said that's enough and I didn't blame him. The last thing I wanted, anyway, was to go on and end up teaching school. It happened the very day the paper came out with my disgrace in it, Dr. Peebles was staying at our place for dinner, having just helped one of the cows have twins, and he said I looked smart to him and his wife was looking for a girl to help. He said she felt tied down, with the two children, out in the country. I guess she would, my mother said, being polite, though I could tell from her face she was wondering what on earth it would be like to have only two children and no barn work, and then to be complaining. When I went home I would describe to them the work I had to do, and it made everybody laugh. Mrs. Peebles had an automatic washer and dryer, the first I ever saw. I have had those in my own home for such a long time now it's hard to remember how much of a miracle it was to me, not having to struggle with the wringer and hang up and haul down. Let alone not having to heat water. Then there was practically no baking. Mrs. Peebles said she couldn't make pie crust, the most amazing thing I ever heard a woman admit. I could, of course, and I could make light biscuits and a white cake and dark cake, but they didn't want it, she said they watched their figures. The only thing I didn't like about working there, in fact, was feeling half hungry a lot of the time. I used to bring back a box of doughnuts made out at home, and hide them under my bed. The children found out, and I didn't mind sharing, but I thought I better bind them to secrecy. The day after the plane landed Mrs. Peebles put both children in the car and drove over to Chesley, to get their hair cut. There was a rood woman then at Chesley for doing hair. She got hers done at the same place, Mrs. Peebles did, and that meant they would be gone a good while. She had to pick a day Dr. Peebles wasn't going out into the country, she didn't have her own car. Cars were still in short supply then, after the war. I loved being left in the house alone, to do my work at leisure. The kitchen was all white and bright yellow, with fluorescent lights. That was before they ever thought of making the appliances all different colors and doing the cupboards like dark old wood and hiding the lighting. I loved light. I loved the double sink. So would anybody new­-come from washing dishes in a dishpan with a rag--plugged hole on an oilcloth--covered table by light of a coal--oil lamp. I kept everything shining. The bathroom too. I had a bath in there once a week. They wouldn't have minded if I took one oftener, but to me it seemed like asking too much, or maybe risking making it less wonderful. The basin and the tub and the toilet were all pink, and there were glass doors with flamingoes painted on them, to shut off the tub. The light had a rosy cast and the mat sank under your feet like snow, except that it was warm. The mirror was three--way. With the mirror all steamed up and the air like a perfume cloud, from things I was allowed to use, I stood up on the side of the tub and admired myself naked, from three directions. Sometimes I thought about the way we lived out at home and the way we lived here and how one way was so hard to imagine when you were living the other way. But I thought it was still a lot easier, living the way we lived at home, to picture something like this, the painted flamingoes and the warmth and the soft mat, than it was anybody knowing only things like this to picture how ii was the other way. And why was that? I was through my jobs in no time, and had the vegetables peeled for supper and sitting in cold water besides. Then I went into Mrs. Peebles' bedroom. I had been in there plenty of times, cleaning, and I always took a good look in her closet, at the clothes she had hanging there. I wouldn't have looked in her drawers, but a closet is open to anybody. That's a lie. I would have looked in drawers, but I would have felt worse doing it and been more scared she could tell. Some clothes in her closet she wore all the time, I was quite familiar with them. Others she never put on, they were pushed to the back. I was disappointed to see no wedding dress. But there was one long dress I could just see the skirt of, and I was hungering to see the rest. Now I took note of where it hung and lifted it out. It was satin, a lovely weight on my arm, light bluish--green in color, almost silvery. It had; fitted, pointed waist and a full skirt and an off--the--shoulder fold hiding the little sleeves. Next thing was easy. I got out of my own things and slipped it on. I was slimmer at fifteen than anybody would believe who knows me now and the fit was beautiful. I didn't, of course, have a strapless bra on, which was what it needed, I just had to slid' my straps down my arms under the material. Then I tried pinning up my hair, to get the effect. One thing led to another. I put on rouge and lipstick and eyebrow pencil from her dresser. The heat of the day and the weight of the satin and all the excitement made me thirsty, and I went out to the kitchen, got--up as I was, to get a glass of ginger ale with ice cubes from the refrigerator. The Peebleses drank ginger ale, or fruit drinks, all day, like water, and I was getting so I did too. Also there was no limit on ice cubes, which I was so fond of I would even put them in a glass of milk. I turned from putting the ice tray back and saw a man watching me through the screen. It was the luckiest thing in the world 1 didn't spill the ginger ale down the front of mi then and there. “I never meant to scare you. I knocked but you were getting the ice out, you didn't hear me.” I couldn't see what he looked like, he was dark the way somebody is pressed up against a screen door with the bright daylight behind them. I only knew he wasn't from around here. “I'm from the plane over there. My name is Chris Watters and what I was wondering was if I could use that pump.”” There was a pump in the yard. That was the way the people used to get their water. Now I noticed he was carrying a pail. “You're welcome,” I said. “I can get it from the tap and save you pumping.” I guess I wanted him to know we had piped water, didn't pump ourselves. “I don't mind the exercise.” He didn't move, though, and finally he said, “Were you going to a dance?” Seeing a stranger there had made me entirely forget how I was dressed. “Or is that the way ladies around here generally get dressed up in the afternoon?” I didn't know how to joke back then. I was too embarrassed. “You live here? Are you the lady of the house?” “I'm the hired girl.” Some people change when they find that out, their whole way of looking at you and speaking to you changes, but his didn't. “Well, I just wanted to tell you you look very nice. I was so surprised when I looked in the door and saw you. Just because you looked so nice and beautiful.” I wasn't even old enough then to realize how out of the common it is, for a man to say something like that to a woman, or somebody he is treating like a woman. For a man to say a word like beautiful. I wasn't old enough to realize or to say anything back, or in fact to do anything but wish he would go away. Not that I didn't like him, but just that it upset me so, having him look at me, and me trying to think of something to say. He must have understood. He said good--bye, and, thanked me, and went and started filling his pail from the pump. I stood behind the Venetian blinds in the dining room, watching him. When he had gone, I went into the bedroom and took the dress off and put it back in the same place. I dressed in my own clothes and took my hair down and washed my face, wiping it on Kleenex, which I threw in the wastebasket. The Peebleses asked me what kind of man he was. Young, middle--aged, short, tall? I couldn't say. “Good--looking?” Dr. Peebles teased me. I couldn't think a thing but that he would be coming to get his water again, he would be talking to Dr. or Mrs. Peebles, making friends with them, and he would mention seeing me that first afternoon, dressed up. Why not mention it? He would think it was funny. And no idea of the trouble it would get me into. After supper the Peebleses drove into town to go to a movie. She wanted to go somewhere with her hair fresh done. I sat in my bright kitchen wondering what to do, knowing I would never sleep. Mrs. Peebles might not fire me, when she found out, but it would give her a different feeling about me altogether. This was the first place I ever worked but I already had picked up things about the way people feel when you are working for them. They like to think you aren't curious. Not just that you aren't dishonest, that isn't enough. They like to feel you don't notice things, that you don't think or wonder about anything but what they liked to eat and how they liked things ironed, and so on. I don't mean they weren't kind to me, because they were. They had me eat my meals with them (to tell the truth I expected to, I didn't know there were families who don't) and sometimes they took me along in the car. But all the same. I went up and checked on the children being asleep and then I went out. I had to do it. I crossed the road and went in the old fairgrounds gate. The plane looked unnatural sitting there, and shining with the moon. Off at the far side of the fairgrounds where the bush was taking over, I saw his tent. He was sitting outside it smoking a cigarette. He saw me coming. “Hello, were you looking for a plane ride? I don't start taking people up till tomorrow.” Then he looked again and said, “Oh, it's you. I didn't know you without your long dress on.” My heart was knocking away, my tongue was dried up. I had to say something. But I couldn't. My throat was closed and I was like a deaf--and--dumb. “Did you want a ride? Sit down. Have a cigarette.” I couldn't even shake my head to say no, so he gave me one. “Put it in your mouth or I can't light it. It's a good thing I'm used to shy ladies.” I did. It wasn't the first time I had smoked a cigarette, actually. My girl--friend out home, Muriel Lowe, used to steal them from her brother. “Look at your hand shaking. Did you just want to have a chat, or what?” In one burst I said, “I wisht you wouldn't say anything about that dress.” “What dress? Oh, the long dress.” “It's Mrs. Peebles'.” “Whose? Oh, the lady you work for? She wasn't home so you got dressed up in her dress, eh? You got dressed up and played queen. I don't blame you. You're not smoking the cigarette right. Don't just puff. Draw it in. Did anybody ever show you how to inhale? Are you scared I'll tell on you? Is that it?” I was so ashamed at having to ask him to connive this way I couldn't nod. I just looked at him and he saw yes. “Well I won't. I won't in the slightest way mention it or embarrass you. I give you my word of honor.” Then he changed the subject, to help me out, seeing I couldn't even thank him. “What do you think of this sign?” It was a board sign lying practically at my feet. SEE THE WORLD FROM THE SKY. ADULTS $1.00, CHILDREN 50¢. QUALIFIED PILOT. “My old sign was getting pretty beat up, I thought I'd make a new one. That's what I've been doing with my time today.” The lettering wasn't all that handsome, I thought. I could have done a better one in half an hour. “I'm not an expert at sign making.” “It's very good,” I said. “I don't need it for publicity, word of mouth is usually enough. I turned away two carloads tonight. I felt like taking it easy. I didn't tell them ladies were dropping in to visit me.” Now I remembered the children and I was scared again, in case; one of them had waked up and called me and I wasn't there. “Do you have to go so soon?” I remembered some manners. “Thank you for the cigarette.” “Don't forget. You have my word of honor.” I tore off across the fairgrounds, scared I'd see the car heading home from town. My sense of time was mixed up, I didn't know how long I'd been out of the house. But it was all right, it wasn't late, the children were asleep. I got in my bed myself and lay thinking what a lucky end to the day, after all, and among things to be grateful for I could be' grateful Loretta Bird hadn't been the one who caught me. The yard and borders didn't get trampled, it wasn't as bad as that. All the same it seemed very public, around the house. The sign was on the fair--grounds gate. People came mostly after supper but a good many in the afternoon, too. The Bird children all came without fifty cents between them and hung on the gate. We got used to the excitement of the plane coming in and taking off, it wasn't excitement anymore. I never went over, after that one time, but would see him when he came to get his water. I would be out on the steps doing sitting--down work, like preparing vegetables, if I could. “Why don't you come over? I'll take you up in my plane.” “I'm saving my money,” I said, because I couldn't think of anything else. “For what? For getting married?” I shook my head. “I'll take you up for free if you come sometime when it's slack. I thought you would come, and have another cigarette.” I made a face to hush him, because you never could tell when the children would be sneaking around the porch, or Mrs. Peebles herself listening in the house. Sometimes she came out and had a conversation with him. He told her things he hadn't bothered to tell me. But then I hadn't thought to ask. He told her he had been in the war, that was where he learned to fly a plane, and how he couldn't settle down to ordinary life, this was what he liked. She said she couldn't imagine anybody liking such a thing. Though sometimes, she said, she was almost bored enough to try anything herself, she wasn't brought up to living in the country. It's all my husband's idea, she said. This was news to me. “Maybe you ought to give flying lessons,” she said. “Would you take them?” She just laughed. Sunday was a busy flying day in spite of it being preached against from two pulpits. We were all sitting out watching. Joey and Heather were over on the fence with the Bird kids. Their father had said they could go, after their mother saying all week they couldn't. A car came down the road past the parked cars and pulled up right in the drive. It was Loretta Bird who got Out, all importance, and on the driver's side another woman got out, more sedately. She was wearing sunglasses. “This is a lady looking for the man that flies the plane,” Loretta Bird said. “I heard he inquire in the hotel coffee shop where I was having a Coke and I brought her out.” “I'm sorry to bother you,” the lady said. “I'm Alice Kelling, Mr. Watters' fiancée.” This Alice Kelling had on a pair of brown and white checked slacks and a yellow top. Her bust looked to me rather low and bumpy. She had a worried face. Her hair had ha a permanent, but had grown out, and she wore a yellow band to keep it off her face. Nothing in the least pretty or even young--looking about her. But you could tell from how she talked she was from the city, or educated, or both. Dr. Peebles stood up and introduced himself and his wife and me and asked her to be seated. “He's up in the air right now, but you're welcome to sit and wait. He gets his water here and he hasn't been yet. He'll probably take his break about five.” “That is him, then?” said Alice Kelling, wrinkling and straining at the sky. “He's not in the habit of running out on you, taking a different name?” Dr. Peebles laughed. He was the one, not his wife, to offer iced tea. Then she sent me into the kitchen to fix it. She smiled. She was wearing sunglasses too. “He never mentioned his fiancée,” she said. I loved fixing iced tea with lots of ice and slices of lemon in tall glasses. I ought to have mentioned before, Dr. Peebles was an abstainer, at least around the house, or I wouldn't have been allowed to take the place. I had to fix a glass for Loretta Bird too, though it galled me, and when I went out she had settled in my lawn chair, leaving me the steps. “I knew you was a nurse when I first heard you in that coffee shop.” “How would you know a thing like that?” “I get my hunches about people. Was that how you met him, nursing?” “Chris? Well yes. Yes, it was.” “Oh, were you overseas?” said Mrs. Peebles. “No, it was before he went overseas. I nursed him when he was stationed at Centralia and had a ruptured appendix. We got engaged and then he went overseas. My, this is refreshing, after a long drive.” “He'll be glad to see you,” Dr. Peebles said. “It's a rackety kind of life, isn't it, not staying one place long enough to really make friends.” “Youse've had a long engagement,” Loretta Bird said. Alice Kelling passed that over. “I was going to get a room at the hotel, but when I was offered directions I came on out. Do you think I could phone them?” “No need,” Dr. Peebles said. “You're five miles away from him if you stay at the hotel. Here, you're right across the road. Stay with us. We've got rooms on rooms, look at this big house.” Asking people to stay, just like that, is certainly a country thing, and maybe seemed natural to him now, but not to Mrs. Peebles, from the way she said, oh yes, we have plenty of room. Or to Alice Kelling, who kept protesting, but let herself be worn down. I got the feeling it was a temptation to her, to be that close. 1 was trying for a look at her ring. Her nails were painted red, her fingers were freckled and wrinkled. It was a tiny stone. Muriel Lowe's cousin had one twice as big. Chris came to get his water, late in the afternoon just as Dr. Peebles had predicted. He must have recognized the car from a way off. He came smiling. “Here I am chasing after you to see what you're up to,” called Alice Kelling. She got up and went to meet him and they kissed, just touched, in front of us. “You're going to spend a lot on gas that way,” Chris said. Dr. Peebles invited Chris to stay for supper, since he had already put up the sign that said: NO MORE RIDES TILL 7 P.M. Mrs. Peebles wanted it served in the yard, in spite of the bugs. One thing strange to anybody from the country is this eating outside. I had made a potato salad earlier and she had made a jellied salad, that was one thing she could do, so it was just a matter of getting those out, and some sliced meat and cucumbers and fresh leaf lettuce. Loretta Bird hung around for some time saying, “Oh, well, I guess I better get home to those yappers,” and,” It's so nice just sitting here, I sure hate to get up,” but nobody invited her, I was relieved to see, and finally she had to go. That night after rides were finished Alice Kelling and Chris went off somewhere in her car. I lay awake till they got back. When I saw the car lights sweep my ceiling I got up to look down on them through the slats of my blind. I don't know what I thought I was going to see. Muriel Lowe and I used to sleep on her front veranda and watch her sister and her sister's boy friend saying good night. Afterward we couldn't get to sleep, for longing for somebody to kiss us and rub against us and we would talk about suppose you were out in a boat with a boy and he wouldn't bring you in to shore unless you did it, or what if somebody got you trapped in a barn, you would have to, wouldn't you, it wouldn't be your fault. Muriel said her two girl cousins used to try with a toilet paper roll that one of them was a boy. We wouldn't do anything like that; just lay and wondered. All that happened was that Chris got out of the car on one side and she got out on the other and they walked off separately--him toward the fair--grounds and her toward the house. I got back in bed and imagined about me coming home with him, not like that. Next morning Alice Kelling got up late and I fixed a grapefruit for her the way I had learned and Mrs. Peebles sat down with her to visit and have another cup of coffee. Mrs. Peebles seemed pleased enough now, having company. Alice Kelling said she guessed she better get used to putting in a day just watching Chris take off and come down, and Mrs. Peebles said she didn't know if she should suggest it because Alice Kelling was the one with the car, but the lake was only twenty--five miles away and what a good day for a picnic. Alice Kelling took her up on the idea and by eleven o'clock they were in the car, with Joey and Heather and a sandwich lunch I had made. The only thing was that Chris hadn't come down, and she wanted to tell him where they were going. “Edie'll go over and tell him,” Mrs. Peebles said. “There's no problem.” Alice Kelling wrinkled her face and agreed. “Be sure and tell him we'll be back by five!” I didn't see that he would be concerned about knowing this right away, and I thought of him eating whatever he ate over there, alone, cooking on his camp stove, so I got to work and mixed up a crumb cake and baked it, in between the other work I had to do; then, when it was a bit cooled, wrapped it in a tea towel. I didn't do anything to myself but take off my apron and comb my hair. I would like to have put some makeup on, but I was too afraid it would remind him of the way he first saw me, and that. would humiliate me all over again. He had come and put another sign on the gate: NO RIDES THIS P.M.APOLOGIES. I worried that he wasn't feeling well. No sign of him outside and the tent flap was down. I knocked on the pole. “Come in,” he said, in a voice that would just as soon have said Stay out. I lifted the flap. “Oh, it's you. I'm sorry. I didn't know it was you.” He had been just sitting on the side of the bed, smoking. Why not at least sit and smoke in the fresh air? “I brought a cake and hope you're not sick,” I said. “Why would I be sick? Oh--that sign. That's all right. I'm just tired of talking to people. I don't mean you. Have a seat.” He pinned back the tent flap. “Get some fresh air in here.” I sat on the edge of the bed, there was no place else. It was one of those fold up cots, really: I remembered and gave him his fiancée's message. He ate some of the cake. “Good.” “Put the rest away for when you're hungry later.' “I'll tell you a secret. I won't be around here much longer.' “Are you getting married?” “Ha ha. What time did you say they'd be back?” “Five o'clock.” “Well, by that time this place will have seen the last of me. A plane can get further than a car.” He unwrapped the cake and ate another piece of it, absentmindedly. “Now you'll be thirsty.” “There's some water in the pail.” “It won't be very cold. I could bring some fresh. I could bring some ice from the refrigerator.” “No,” he said. “I don't want you to go. I want a nice long time of saying good--bye to you.” He put the cake away carefully and sat beside me and started those little kisses, so soft, I can't ever let myself think about them, such kindness in his face and lovely kisses, all over my eyelids and neck and ears, all over, then me kissing back as well as I could (I had only kissed a boy on a dare before, and kissed my own arms for practice) and we lay back on the cot and pressed together, just gently, and he did some other things, not bad things or not in a bad way. It was lovely in the tent, that smell of grass and hot tent cloth with the sun beating down on it, and he said, “I wouldn't do you any harm for the world.” Once, when he had rolled on top of me and we were sort of rocking together on the cot, he said softly, “Oh, no,” and freed himself and jumped up and got the water pail. He splashed some of it on his neck and face, and the little bit left, on me lying there. “That's to cool us off, miss.” When we said good-bye I wasn't at all sad, because he held my face and said, “I'm going to write you a letter. I'll tell you where I am and maybe you can come and see me. Would you like that? Okay then. You wait.” I was really glad I think to get away from him, it was like he was piling presents on me I couldn't get the pleasure of till I considered them alone. No consternation at first about the plane being gone. They thought he had taken somebody up, and I didn't enlighten them. Dr. Peebles had phoned he had to go to the country, so there was just us having supper, and then Loretta Bird thrusting her head in the door and saying, "I see he's took off.” “What?” said Alice Kelling, and pushed back her chair. “The kids come and told me this afternoon he was taking down his tent. Did he think he'd run through all the business there was around here? He didn't take off without letting you know, did he?” “He'll send me word,” Alice Kelling said. “He'll probably phone tonight. He's terribly restless, since the war.” “Edie, he didn't mention to you, did he?” Mrs. Peebles said. “When you took over the message?” “Yes,” I said. So far so true. “Well why didn't you say?” All of them were looking at me. “Did he say where he was going?” “He said he might try Bayfield;” I said. What made me tell such a lie? I didn't intend It. “Bayfield, how far is that?” said Alice Kelling. Mrs. Peebles said, “Thirty, thirty--five miles.” “That's not far. Oh, well, that's really not far at all. It's on the lake, isn't it?” You'd think I'd be ashamed of myself, setting her on the wrong track. I did it to give him more time, whatever time he needed. I lied for him, and also, I have to admit, for me. Women should stick together and not do things like that. I see that now, but didn't then. I never thought of myself as being in any way like her, or coming to the same troubles, ever. She hadn't taken her eyes off me. I thought she suspected my lie. “When did he mention this to you?” “Earlier.” “When you were over at the plane?” “Yes.” “You must've stayed and had a chat.” She smiled at me, not a nice smile. “You must've stayed and had a little visit with him.” “I took a cake,” I said, thinking that telling some truth would spare me telling the rest. “We didn't have a cake,” said Mrs. Peebles rather sharply. “I baked one.” Alice Kelling said, “That was very friendly of you.” “Did you get permission,” said Loretta Bird. “You never know what these girls'll do next,” she said. “It's not they mean harm so much, as they're ignorant.” “The cake is neither here nor there,” Mrs. Peebles broke in. “Edie, I wasn't aware you knew Chris that well.” I didn't know what to say. “I'm not surprised,” Alice Kelling said in a high voice.” I knew by the look of her as soon as I saw her. We've get them at the hospital all the time.” She looked hard at me with her stretched smile. “Having their babies. We have to put them in a special ward because of their diseases. Little country tramps. Fourteen and fifteen years old. You should see the babies they have, too.” “There was a bad woman here in town had a baby that pus was running out of its eyes,” Loretta Bird put in. “Wait a minute,” said Mrs. Peebles. “What is this talk? Edie. What about you and Mr. Watters? Were you intimate with him?” “Yes,” I said. I was thinking of us lying on the cot and kissing, wasn't that intimate? And I would never deny it. They were all one minute quiet, even Loretta Bird. “Well,” said Mrs. Peebles. "I am surprised. I think I need a cigarette. This is the first of any such tendencies I've seen in her,” she said, speaking to Alice Kelling, but Alice Kelling was looking at me. “Loose little bitch.” Tears ran down her face. “Loose little bitch, aren't you? I knew as soon as I saw you. Men despise girls like you. He just made use of you and went off, you know that, don't you? Girls like you' are just nothing, they're just public conveniences, just filthy little rags!” “Oh, now,” said Mrs. Peebles. “Filthy,” Alice Kelling sobbed. “Filthy little pigs!” “Don't get yourself upset,” Loretta Bird said. She was swollen up with pleasure at being in on this scene. “Men are all the same.” “Edie, I'm very surprised,” Mrs. Pebbles said. “I thought your parents were so strict. You don't want to have a baby, do you?” I'm still ashamed of what happened next. I lost control, just like a six--year--old, I started howling. “You don't get a baby from just doing that!” “You see. Some of them are that ignorant,” Loretta Bird said. But Mrs. Peebles jumped up and caught my arms and shook me. “Calm down. Don't get hysterical. Calm down. Stop crying. Listen to me. Listen I'm wondering, if you know what being intimate means. Now tell me. What did you think it meant?” “Kissing,” I howled. She let go. “Oh, Edie. Stop it. Don't be silly. It's all right. It's all a misunderstanding. Being intimate means a lot more than that. Oh, I wondered.” “She's trying to cover up, now,” said Alice Kelling. “Yes. She's not so stupid. She sees she got herself in trouble.” “I believe her,” Mrs. Peebles said. “This is an awful scene.” “Well there is one way to find out,” said Alice Kelling, getting up. “After all, I am a nurse.” Mrs. Peebles drew a breath and said, “No. No. Go to your room, Edie. And stop that noise. This is too disgusting.” I heard the car start in a little while. I tried to stop crying, pulling back each wave as it started over me. Finally I succeeded, and lay heaving on the bed. Mrs. Peebles came and stood in the doorway. “She's gone,” she said. “That Bird woman too. Of course, you know you should never have gone near that man and that is the cause of all this trouble. I have a headache. As soon as you can, go and wash your face in cold water and get at the dishes and we will not say any more about this.” Nor we didn't. I didn't figure out till years later the extent of what I had been saved from. Mrs. Peebles was not very friendly to me afterward, but she was fair. Not very friendly is the wrong way of describing what she was. She had never been very friendly. It was just that now she had to see me all the time and it got on her nerves, a little. As for me, I put it all out of my mind like a bad dream and concentrated on waiting for my letter. The mail came every day except Sunday, between one--thirty and two in the afternoon, a good time for me because Mrs. Peebles was always having her nap. I would get the kitchen all cleaned and then go up to the mailbox and sit in the grass, waiting. I was perfectly happy, waiting. I forgot all about Alice Kelling and her misery and awful talk and Mrs. Peebles and her chilliness and the embarrassment of whether she told Dr. Peebles and the face of Loretta Bird, getting her fill of other people's troubles. I was always smiling when the mailman got there, and continued smiling even after he gave me the mail and I saw today wasn't the day. The mailman was a Carmichael. I knew by his face because there are a lot of Carmichaels living out by us and so many of them have a sort of sticking--out top lip. So I asked his name(he was a young man, shy, but good--humored, anybody could ask him anything) and then I said, “I knew by your face!” He was pleased by that and always glad to see me and got a little less shy. “You've got the smile I've been waiting for all day!” he used to holler out the car window. It never crossed my mind for a long time a letter might not come. I believed in it coming just like I believed the sun would rise in the morning. I just put off my hope from day to day, and there was the goldenrod out around the mailbox and the children gone back to school, and the leaves turning, and I was wearing a sweater when I went to wait. One day walking back with the hydro bill stuck in my hand, that was all, looking across at the fairgrounds with the full--blown milkweed and dark teasels, so much like fall, it just struck me: No letter was ever going to come. It was an impossible idea to get used to. No, not impossible. If I thought about Chris's face when he said he was going to write me, it was impossible, but if I forgot that and thought about the actual tin mailbox, empty, it was plain and true. I kept on going to meet the mail, but my heart was heavy now like a lump of lead. I only smiled because I thought of the mailman counting on it, and he didn't have an easy life, with the winter driving ahead. Till it came to me one day there were women doing this with their lives, all over. There were women just waiting and waiting by mailboxes for one letter or another. I imagined me making this journey day after day and year after year, and my hair starting to get gray, and I thought, I was never made to go on like that. So I stopped meeting the mail. If there were women all through life waiting, and women busy and not waiting, I knew which I had to be. Even though there might be things the second kind of women have to pass up and never know about, it still is better. I was surprised when the mailman phoned the Peebleses' place in the evening and asked for me. He said he missed me. He asked if I would like to go to Goderich, where some well--known movie was on, I forget now what. So I said yes, and I went out with him for two years and he asked me to marry him, and we were engaged a year more while I got my things together, and then we did marry. He always tells the children the story of how I went after him by sitting by the mailbox every day, and naturally I laugh and let him, because I like for people to think what pleases them and makes them happy. 2. Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield Although it was so brilliantly fine - the blue sky powdered with gold and great spots of light like white wine splashed over the Jardins Publiques - Miss Brill was glad that she had decided on her fur. The air was motionless, but when you opened your mouth there was just a faint chill, like a chill from a glass of iced water before you sip, and now and again a leaf came drifting - from nowhere, from the sky. Miss Brill put up her hand and touched her fur. Dear little thing! It was nice to feel it again. She had taken it out of its box that afternoon, shaken out the moth-powder, given it a good brush, and rubbed the life back into the dim little eyes. "What has been happening to me?" said the sad little eyes. Oh, how sweet it was to see them snap at her again from the red eiderdown! ... But the nose, which was of some black composition, wasn't at all firm. It must have had a knock, somehow. Never mind - a little dab of black sealing-wax when the time came - when it was absolutely necessary ... Little rogue! Yes, she really felt like that about it. Little rogue biting its tail just by her left ear. She could have taken it off and laid it on her lap and stroked it. She felt a tingling in her hands and arms, but that came from walking, she supposed. And when she breathed, something light and sad - no, not sad, exactly - something gentle seemed to move in her bosom. There were a number of people out this afternoon, far more than last Sunday. And the band sounded louder and gayer. That was because the Season had begun. For although the band played all the year round on Sundays, out of season it was never the same. It was like some one playing with only the family to listen; it didn't care how it played if there weren't any strangers present. Wasn't the conductor wearing a new coat, too? She was sure it was new. He scraped with his foot and flapped his arms like a rooster about to crow, and the bandsmen sitting in the green rotunda blew out their cheeks and glared at the music. Now there came a little "flutey" bit - very pretty! - a little chain of bright drops. She was sure it would be repeated. It was; she lifted her head and smiled. Only two people shared her "special" seat: a fine old man in a velvet coat, his hands clasped over a huge carved walking-stick, and a big old woman, sitting upright, with a roll of knitting on her embroidered apron. They did not speak. This was disappointing, for Miss Brill always looked forward to the conversation. She had become really quite expert, she thought, at listening as though she didn't listen, at sitting in other people's lives just for a minute while they talked round her. She glanced, sideways, at the old couple. Perhaps they would go soon. Last Sunday, too, hadn't been as interesting as usual. An Englishman and his wife, he wearing a dreadful Panama hat and she button boots. And she'd gone on the whole time about how she ought to wear spectacles; she knew she needed them; but that it was no good getting any; they'd be sure to break and they'd never keep on. And he'd been so patient. He'd suggested everything - gold rims, the kind that curved round your ears, little pads inside the bridge. No, nothing would please her. "They'll always be sliding down my nose!" Miss Brill had wanted to shake her. The old people sat on the bench, still as statues. Never mind, there was always the crowd to watch. To and fro, in front of the flower-beds and the band rotunda, the couples and groups paraded, stopped to talk, to greet, to buy a handful of flowers from the old beggar who had his tray fixed to the railings. Little children ran among them, swooping and laughing; little boys with big white silk bows under their chins, little girls, little French dolls, dressed up in velvet and lace. And sometimes a tiny staggerer came suddenly rocking into the open from under the trees, stopped, stared, as suddenly sat down "flop," until its small high-stepping mother, like a young hen, rushed scolding to its rescue. Other people sat on the benches and green chairs, but they were nearly always the same, Sunday after Sunday, and - Miss Brill had often noticed - there was something funny about nearly all of them. They were odd, silent, nearly all old, and from the way they stared they looked as though they'd just come from dark little rooms or even - even cupboards! Behind the rotunda the slender trees with yellow leaves down drooping, and through them just a line of sea, and beyond the blue sky with gold-veined clouds. Tum-tum-tum tiddle-um! tiddle-um! tum tiddley-um tum ta! blew the band. Two young girls in red came by and two young soldiers in blue met them, and they laughed and paired and went off arm-in-arm. Two peasant women with funny straw hats passed, gravely, leading beautiful smoke-coloured donkeys. A cold, pale nun hurried by. A beautiful woman came along and dropped her bunch of violets, and a little boy ran after to hand them to her, and she took them and threw them away as if they'd been poisoned. Dear me! Miss Brill didn't know whether to admire that or not! And now an ermine toque and a gentleman in grey met just in front of her. He was tall, stiff, dignified, and she was wearing the ermine toque she'd bought when her hair was yellow. Now everything, her hair, her face, even her eyes, was the same colour as the shabby ermine, and her hand, in its cleaned glove, lifted to dab her lips, was a tiny yellowish paw. Oh, she was so pleased to see him - delighted! She rather thought they were going to meet that afternoon. She described where she'd been - everywhere, here, there, along by the sea. The day was so charming - didn't he agree? And wouldn't he, perhaps? ... But he shook his head, lighted a cigarette, slowly breathed a great deep puff into her face, and even while she was still talking and laughing, flicked the match away and walked on. The ermine toque was alone; she smiled more brightly than ever. But even the band seemed to know what she was feeling and played more softly, played tenderly, and the drum beat, "The Brute! The Brute!" over and over. What would she do? What was going to happen now? But as Miss Brill wondered, the ermine toque turned, raised her hand as though she'd seen some one else, much nicer, just over there, and pattered away. And the band changed again and played more quickly, more gayly than ever, and the old couple on Miss Brill's seat got up and marched away, and such a funny old man with long whiskers hobbled along in time to the music and was nearly knocked over by four girls walking abreast. Oh, how fascinating it was! How she enjoyed it! How she loved sitting here, watching it all! It was like a play. It was exactly like a play. Who could believe the sky at the back wasn't painted? But it wasn't till a little brown dog trotted on solemn and then slowly trotted off, like a little "theatre" dog, a little dog that had been drugged, that Miss Brill discovered what it was that made it so exciting. They were all on the stage. They weren't only the audience, not only looking on; they were acting. Even she had a part and came every Sunday. No doubt somebody would have noticed if she hadn't been there; she was part of the performance after all. How strange she'd never thought of it like that before! And yet it explained why she made such a point of starting from home at just the same time each week - so as not to be late for the performance - and it also explained why she had quite a queer, shy feeling at telling her English pupils how she spent her Sunday afternoons. No wonder! Miss Brill nearly laughed out loud. She was on the stage. She thought of the old invalid gentleman to whom she read the newspaper four afternoons a week while he slept in the garden. She had got quite used to the frail head on the cotton pillow, the hollowed eyes, the open mouth and the high pinched nose. If he'd been dead she mightn't have noticed for weeks; she wouldn't have minded. But suddenly he knew he was having the paper read to him by an actress! "An actress!" The old head lifted; two points of light quivered in the old eyes. "An actress - are ye?" And Miss Brill smoothed the newspaper as though it were the manuscript of her part and said gently; "Yes, I have been an actress for a long time." The band had been having a rest. Now they started again. And what they played was warm, sunny, yet there was just a faint chill - a something, what was it? - not sadness - no, not sadness - a something that made you want to sing. The tune lifted, lifted, the light shone; and it seemed to Miss Brill that in another moment all of them, all the whole company, would begin singing. The young ones, the laughing ones who were moving together, they would begin, and the men's voices, very resolute and brave, would join them. And then she too, she too, and the others on the benches - they would come in with a kind of accompaniment - something low, that scarcely rose or fell, something so beautiful - moving ... And Miss Brill's eyes filled with tears and she looked smiling at all the other members of the company. Yes, we understand, we understand, she thought - though what they understood she didn't know. Just at that moment a boy and girl came and sat down where the old couple had been. They were beautifully dressed; they were in love. The hero and heroine, of course, just arrived from his father's yacht. And still soundlessly singing, still with that trembling smile, Miss Brill prepared to listen. "No, not now," said the girl. "Not here, I can't." "But why? Because of that stupid old thing at the end there?" asked the boy. "Why does she come here at all - who wants her? Why doesn't she keep her silly old mug at home?" "It's her fu-ur which is so funny," giggled the girl. "It's exactly like a fried whiting." "Ah, be off with you!" said the boy in an angry whisper. Then: "Tell me, ma petite chere--" "No, not here," said the girl. "Not yet." On her way home she usually bought a slice of honey-cake at the baker's. It was her Sunday treat. Sometimes there was an almond in her slice, sometimes not. It made a great difference. If there was an almond it was like carrying home a tiny present - a surprise - something that might very well not have been there. She hurried on the almond Sundays and struck the match for the kettle in quite a dashing way. But to-day she passed the baker's by, climbed the stairs, went into the little dark room - her room like a cupboard - and sat down on the red eiderdown. She sat there for a long time. The box that the fur came out of was on the bed. She unclasped the necklet quickly; quickly, without looking, laid it inside. But when she put the lid on she thought she heard something crying. source..
Analysis of Short Stories
The two short stories are the poem by Alice Munro’s “How I Met my Husband” and Katherine Mansfield’s “Miss Brill” are very exciting poems with very good themes and the necessary literary devices used in the writing of the poems. Alice Munro was born in Wingham, Ontario on July 10, 1931and started her writing career in 1950 while attending Western Ontario University. Having majored in English, she had all the skills and knowledge required in the writing of short stories. Her major encouragements arose from the life style she experienced in the Wingham as well as the values (Hooper 5). On the other hand, Katherine Mansfield was born in Wellington, New Zealand on October 14, 1888 with serious education in London. Even though she studied music, there was a lot of interest in writing within her and this promoted the writing career. Katherine published her first volume of stories in 1911. Both stories have different themes as explained in the next paragraph (Gunsteren 9).
Themes of the Stories
Alice Munro’s “How I Met my Husband” revolves around the theme of love when Edie falls in love with Chris Watters a pilot engaged in doing the business of transporting people from town to town at a fee. To some extend it portrays the theme of poverty and wealth and the idea of everyone is important within a community no wonder, Dr. Peebles has to employ Edie to help him in the farm. In addition, it gives the theme of hard work where Chris pilots people from town to town, in order to make ends meet (Hooper 8). On the other hand, Katherine Mansfield’s “Miss Brill” revolves around many themes including the loneliness and alienation experienced by Miss Brill (Gunsteren 11). In addition, there is a theme of illusion and reality concept where the main character views her as one who is not required in this busy world. According to her, it is through illusions that ignite the feeling that she is not required in the world, which she refers to as “busy world”.
Type of Stories
From the two stories, Alice Munro’s “How I Met my Husband” a romantic story with a setting portraying love between various people that is Edie and Chris, Dr Peebles and the wife, and Chris and the fiancée amongst other love affairs going on within the plot of the ...
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