Mule Killers

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Mule Killers
Essay by Frederik Hansen 3.c

Life’s path is decided by the choices we make. Sometimes we do not think the consequences through and we make mistakes. Even though it is human to make mistakes it can close the door to all your dreams and your life’s path might be forever changed. The short story ”Mule Killers” by Lydia Peele deals with a man who tells his son about the story where he, as a young and immature man, made a mistake which affected his further life so his dreams of love could never be fulfilled.

The short story takes place in two different times. One part takes place in the present, where the father and his adult-son are picking up asparaguses in the garden while the father tells a story from where he was 18 years, which is the main part of the short story. The main part of the short story is set in a small town in the country near Nashville, Tennessee. It is a rural environment where people often bump into each other and where there is only one drugstore. It takes place at the time where the industrialization really had its breakthrough, which can be seen in the change from mules to tractors.

The narrator of the short story is the man, who is told a story by his father. The father, who is the protagonist of the short story, is telling his son a story from the past where he was a young man, and the son passes it on to the reader. In that way the father’s story is told with a third person narrative angle with the father’s point of view, and it seems natural for the narrator to comment on the story, for instance: “If my father had understood what his father was trying to tell him, maybe he would have waited until the next morning.” But this kind of narrator is also one that we cannot trust, because he is only told the story himself. Therefore he cannot know whether the story is totally true, or if some parts are being left out. In the present the father is in the mid-fifties and is described as a high man. We know nothing about...
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