Thursday, 13 December 2012

More Short Story Summaries

This is a continuation from a previous post in which I briefly summarised 5 short stories.

6) The Custody of the Pumpkin - P.G Wodehouse (pg. 119)
This portrayal of an Earl, the Lord Emsworth highlights social class and society's perception of titles. Emsworth has a son who he is embarrassed about, who in his eyes will amount to nothing. This son, Freddie, wishes to marry Emsworth's gardener's cousin. Emsworth is outraged and fires his gardener who was probably the best in growing pumpkins (a pumpkin competition was one that Emsworth sorely wanted to win). The pumpkin starts to falter in its growth, and Emsworth need to win this competition to bring honour to his house, so he travels to London to find a new gardener. In London he finds his son who is planning to elope with his fiance. Emsworth is outraged and goes to the gardens to gather his thought, there he picks a flower and attracts the attention of the authorities and a large crowd. His former gardener and his Freddie's  fiance's father, save him from further embarrassment, and he realises that his son is marrying into money.

7) The Rain Horse - Ted Hughes (pg. 271)
The author poetically describes many aspects of this story. This story involves a man returning home, feeling unwelcome as he treads across the hills to his childhood upbringing. As he trudges through the muddy hills, he encounters an unnaturally behaving, black horse. This horse appears to be aggressively stalking him and the relentless grey rain drives him to act and ask insane questions of himself. After scaring off the horse, the man appears to fall apart mentally. This leaves the reader wondering if the horse was even present or just a figment of a disillusioned man's imagination.
Further information in an essay styled question

8) Sandpiper - Ahdaf Soueif (pg 370)
This story highlights the cultural differences as the author depicts a western woman and an Arab man, and their growing apart in the face of the woman being unable to be accustomed to his homeland, completely foreign to her. The couple's name's aren't mentioned and the author portrays their daughter, Lucy, as the reason for holding the woman back. There are themes of fading love, growing progressively apart.
An essay question and its answer providing great information on this short story
A response to a reader's question

9) My Greatest Ambition - Morris Lurie (pg. 335)
This first person narrative portrays the ironic story of a young boy who wishes to be a comic-strip artist. No-one supports him but he manages to get a spot in a magazine, they pay him little and discredit him for his young age. The author comically shows the meeting between this young boy and grown businessmen. He sends in a second comic strip but this time it is not accepted, the company sighting financial difficulties. The boy gives up on his dream after initially commenting on  how people give up too easily.

10) At Hiruharama - Penelope Fitzgerald (pg. 414)
Set in rural New Zealand, tells the story of a couple making preparations for the birth of their child.

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