Compare/Contrast of Two Short Stories - River Nemunas & Things We'Ll Need for the Coming Difficulties

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The River Nemunas by Anthony Doerr and Things We’ll Need For The Coming Difficulties by Valerie Vogrin are primarily related by a common theme of isolation. Isolation is certainly the main link between the stories but there are other parallels that can be drawn as well. On the other hand, there are things that the two authors did differently while still staying with this common idea. Along with analyzing the theme of isolation, this paper will also serve to compare and contrast the writing style of the stories as well as the way the two authors used images, character development, and conflicting/post-modern ideas within the stories. The overbearing theme of both stories is isolation, however this is an idea that the two authors took different paths with. In The River Nemunas the main character Allie is isolated in many ways. The story starts with emotional isolation. “I’m fifteen years old. My parents are dead” (Doerr, 19). These are the first two sentences of the story, which set the mood of a young girl really being all alone. The reader then learns that Allie is leaving America, and the life that she had known, to fly to Lithuania and live with her grandfather in a form of physical isolation. The difference between Allie’s isolation and the theme of isolation in Things We’ll Need For The Coming Difficulties is that Allie’s isolation is involuntary. She obviously didn’t choose to be separated from her parents and once they were gone it would have been very hard for her to stay in America. Leaving for Lithuania was pretty much her only option but she uses her faith to cope with the difficulties. Isolation is used in Things We’ll Need For The Coming Difficulties a little differently, but the theme is, again, the most prominent theme of that story as well. The setting of the story, a remote home off the middle of the woods in an undisclosed location, really drives home the idea of being away from everything. Shay and Mason live alone, away from everyone and...
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