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Thematic Statements on stories from the textbook ‘Tigers of the Snow’

Unit 3 Assignment: Thematic Statements

Assignment Outcome:

This assignment is designed to let the student examine a variety of short fiction works in terms of an author’s exploration of theme.

Learning Objectives

• Recognize the theme in a short fictional work.

• Analyze a short fictional work in terms of its characters, conflict and style.

• Determine an author’s attitude toward a subject.

• Identify personal connections between a story’s theme and one’s own experience.

• Express a written understanding of the significance of themes in literature

Answer

Story 1: A few Notes for Orpheus 

Theme 

In the short story “A Few notes for Orpheus” Don Bailey the author develops the character of the protagonist Jake as a resentful and isolated being. The author reflects upon the consequences of isolation through a brief description of the reactions of the protagonist. The primary theme of the story is the underlying pain in the isolation and through not revisiting the mistakes of his father in order to provide a better life to his daughter.


Analysis in terms of characters, conflict and style

The primary theme of the story which is isolation has been reflected in the development of the protagonist. The pain is felt in the fact that only accepts the phone call from his mother who is another lonely woman. The characters as developed by the author are lucid. The story however centres around Jake and his decisions and their consequence. The sequence of past, present and future is also prominent in the story. Because the situation of Jake is due to the mistakes of his father and because of the self realisation, the plot develops through the conflict towards resolution.


Author’s attitude toward the subject

The attitude of the author seems to be objective as the story continues with narration and the dialogues between the characters. However, it is evident the perspective of the author is the insight from a looking class into the life of Jake.


The conflict and its resolution

The conflict of the story is displayed through Jake and his thoughts. The protagonist is subjected to constant struggle in order to let go off his past and the uncanny sentiments due to getting hurt by his father. He continues to fight with his inner wounds after every thing is over.


Character’s response to the dilemma

Beatrice is the tool through which the protagonist answers his dilemma and finally the dilemma is resolved in the section where Beatrice fell in the water and Jake saves her. It is his significant step against his self selected exile from his loved ones including his daughter as he thinks he is not accepted by them like his childhood with his father.


Significance of the theme

The theme of the story is significantly associated with the myth of Orpheus. As Orpheus was not supposed to look back, Jake also needed to stop reflecting upon his past and learn to accept the past and apply that in his life.

Story 2: The Firing Squad

Theme

The theme of the story revolves around a war general called John Adams who intends to eradicate his reputation as coward in the battlefield. Later, in the story he has been executed from involving into the murder of an American Soldier who seeks a spiritual suggestion from the Padre who has been apparently portrayed as a Flat character. 


Analysis in terms of characters, conflict and style

Captain John Adams can be characterized as a meek and self-analytical person who is delicate and vulnerable to his reputation as being coward. In the course of his active attempt to eradicate this insult, he happens to involve himself into a position where he have to get involved in killing of an American soldier. At the end of the story, he is observed to seek spiritual solace under the refuge of the flat statements of the Padre. 


Author’s attitude toward the subject

The author appears to impart an objective perspective towards the main characters and it is evident that he intends to convey an anti-war message to the readers of the text. He creates the character of Padre as the vector of that idea.


The conflict and its resolution

The conflict that has been explored here is the perpetual conflict of act and desire which is likely to evoke a ethical dilemma afterwards. The intent of John Adams for getting involved into the battle is to wipe the dimension of cowardice out from his identity. However, later he has been executed as a war criminal for getting involved into a murder. 


Character’s response to the dilemma

After being grief-stricken with the eternal dilemma of the conflict, the Captain seeks a spiritual solace in the flat statements of the Padre.


Significance of the theme

This theme chiefly intends to address the presence of eternal conflicts and the possibility of degradation while pursuing chances to consolidate the existence with eminence.


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