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Stolpestad by William Lychack

Essay by   •  March 28, 2012  •  Essay  •  905 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,364 Views

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Stolpestad by William Lychack

The short story, Stolpestad, evolves around a police officer whose life obviously has become pure triviality: He goes to work, waits for the shift to end, makes an excuse about working late to postpone his arrival at home, gets home and goes to sleep.

Then a day, just before his shift ends, he is asked to help a boy with his dog. At arrival he finds out that the dog is injured and that nothing can be done to save the poor animal, because of the dogs severe injury the family grants him permission to end its life.

He walks around the house, sits down and talks to the dog and then shoots it. Afterwards he drives to the city, calls his wife to tell her that he is late, and then heads of to the bar where he is a known regular. His wife knows where he is and calls the bar to tell Stolpestad that someone is asking for him at home, he drives back to his house to meet the father of the boy, whose dog he shot earlier that day, and the boy. He is told that the dog did not in fact die even after getting shot. Even when faced with the gruesome consequences of his actions, Stolpestad does not seem to be affected by it, it should be noted that the narrative style affects the readers impression of Stolpestad.

The story is written with a narrator bound to the main character and unable to shift between characters and to see the emotions of Stolpestad, in the story he is always referred to as "you" or "Stolpestad". Using this form of narrator, we, as readers, get the same kind of experience as if we ourselves were watching as an audience. The main character is observed, and the observer is incapable of describing any emotions, which also symbolizes Stolpestad's life, because he seems just to be a spectator to his own life and therefore he feels no such things as emotions. The fact that he is trying to make excuses every day for not going home early indicates that he does not feel any affection for his family, as he avoids spending time with them. His mechanical way of working adds up to his lacking emotions, because the only thing that drives him at work, is the thought of freedom . Even though he might feel that his life is dull and without contents, he does not attempt to change it whatsoever, and thus it is clear that he has become completely passive. He feels that his life is of no use: There are indications that he resides in a larger city (he passes "The coffee shops, the liquor stores, laundromats, police, fire, gas stations") and so he feels insignificant and forgotten among all of the inhabitants in the city. He's unable to value his life because he sees himself as "just another brick in the wall" and because of all the horrific things he sees every day, as a police officer.

The author has chosen to use a second person narrator point-of-view he, in this case, takes

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