Topics: Short story, Perception, Stereotype Pages: 2 (704 words) Published: September 27, 2012
Illustrated in the short story Identities by W. D. Valgardson is contrasted throughout the story by stereotypes, which makes the story more effective. Contrast defines the neighborhoods, characters, and their perceptions. The setting is depicted amongst the story, first conveying the protagonist's neighborhood then gradually shifts to the poorer side of town. The protagonist's neighborhood is expressed as innocent, honest and spotless. The children compel innocence as they are "…on plodding horses." (page 3) bearing the image of country side and the simple life. Honesty is revealed with the open markets in the story. "…set above hand-painted signs instructing purchasers to deposit twenty-five or fifty cents." (page 3) The entire suburban area is described as the stereotypical perfect existence. "Symmetric, with nothing left to chance, no ragged edges, no unkempt vacant lots, no houses rendered unique by necessity and indifference…all face the sun… no artificial divisions." (page 3) The poorer side of town creeps in with the emphasis on "a fragment of glass, a chocolate bar wrapper, a plastic horse, cracked sidewalks with ridges of stiff grass." (page 3)The poorer side of town comes out in full force with the illustration of "…seedy looking grocery stores…" and the playground as a prison yard. "…Ten-foot wire fences enclosing a playground bare of equipment and pounded flat. The gate double locked…The school sheathed in heavy screens." (page 4). The poor side of town additionally is stereotypical with bars on the windows of convenience stores, and dangerous alleyways. Characters portrayed in the story are immersed in stereotypes. For the protagonist's neighborhood, they are seen as everyday people. He however is described from the higher end of the community. "Dressed in blue jeans-matching pants and jacket made in Paris…driving a grey Mercedes Benz." (page 4) The poorer neighborhood characters are best described as "Hair glistened… jackets gleam with studs....
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