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Stolpestad by William Lychack Analysis

Essay by   •  September 19, 2011  •  Case Study  •  868 Words (4 Pages)  •  12,748 Views

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By William Lychack

"as if you've seen or imagined or been through all of this before, or will be through it all again, over and over..." (Page 3, line 103-104). I find this sentence describing the main aspect in the short story "Stolpestad" written by William Lychack. Being stuck and not getting any further in your life and living your life as if every day is just being repeated the following day is one of the main problems that this story deals with. This is the life of the main character Stolpestad, a policeman who has to deal with a 9 year old boys suffering dog just before the end of his shift on another lazy Saturday. Although our main character is not pleased with this task but he follows his orders and shoots the dog twice. However, the dog does not die from this and our main character is confronted with his failure as the boy and his father stands on the steps of Stolpestad's porch.

There're a lot of different ways to interpret this short story. But I find the main theme as 'stagnation', not getting any further with your life, doing the same things every day over and over again. The weather and the sun symbolize this stagnation, which we're told about in the very beginning: "sun never burning through the clouds, clouds never breaking into rain..." (Page 1, line 2-3).

The very road our main character is driving along everyday is a part of the neighbourhood he lived in during his childhood. This means that Stolpestad hasn't broken out of the well-known and secure surroundings that he's lived in his whole life. Of cause this doesn't has to be understood as a negative choice of life - but the main character describes the path his driving through with very little enthusiasm: "The coffee shops, the liquor stores, laundromats, police, fire, gas stations to pass - this is your life, Stolpestad" (Page 1, line 4-5). So these places that he daily drives past is "his life" meaning it's what he drives past every single day. This tells us that our main character surely isn't satisfied about his choice of life and his current situation.

Just as this any given Saturday shift is about to end he is called to end the life of a young buys suffering dog. I believe helping the boy is an opportunity to make a difference to his life. This dog can symbolize the neighbourhood that Stolpestad is stuck in - and killing the dog will break the shackles that keeps him tied to this place. Although he's not delighted about the idea he shoots the dog and metaphorical becomes unstuck - or so he believes.

As he goes to the usual bar and tells his acquaintances about his accomplishments before he tells his wife might symbolize that he's not satisfied with his marriage and marriage itself could be interpret as being stuck or held down as



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