Short Story Paper

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Prithviraj Cherukuri

In the short story called “Optimists” written by Richard Ford, tells a story about Frank a fifteen-year-old boy who lives in Great Falls, Montana who learns how life can completely change in an instant. In the “Optimists” there are two major events that shape the story. Franks father Roy Brinson who works on the great northern railway see’s a homeless man die in front of him while at work. Another event is when Roy Brinson comes home and explains what happened to his wife, and kills his wife’s friend Boyd Mitchell. In order to completely understand this story it is important to analyze each major event.

Roy Brinson not only saw the hobo die, but in a way felt he could of done more to help save him. Roy was at work when all a sudden he sees’s a man die. “ We were pushing into that old hump yard on Ninth Avenue. A cut of coal cars. It wasn’t even an hour ago. I was looking out my side, the way you do when you push out a curve. And I could see this one open boxcar in the cut, which isn’t unusual. Only this guy was in it and was trying to get off, sitting in the door, scooting. I guess he was a hobo. Those cars had come in from Glasgow tonight. And just the second he started to go off, the whole cut buckeled up. It’s a thing that’ll happen. But he lost his balance just when he hit the gravel, and he fell backwards underneath. I looked right at him. And one set of trucks rolled right over his foot.” (Ford) Roy Brinson has just witnessed a gruesome death. Most people don’t ever want to witness a person die, it’s hard to witness any type of death, but the way the hobo died was very bloody and nasty type of death. I believe Roy felt in a way, he was responsible for this mans death. For example; “what did you do? My mother said. She looked terrified. “I yelled out. And Sherman stopped pushing but it wasn’t that fast.” (Ford, Optimists) It seems as if Roy feels he could of done more to save the hobo’s life. It’s like that feeling a...
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