The short story “The Moose and the Sparrow” was written by the Canadian author Hugh Garner. The story is about a young man named Cecil, whose parents divorced when he was very young, and who grew up in several foster homes. Cecil graduated from high school at the age of seventeen, and had finished a year of university when the story begins. In order to study, he needs tuition money, and therefore he starts working in a logging camp. One man, named Maddon Moose, is determined to make Cecil break down at least once during his stay at the camp.
Cecil is young and smart. He has set his mind on studying art; he makes beautiful things out of plain wire. Moose is picking on him because of this, and because of his physical appearance, which is less strong than his own. As the new guy, it took a while before he was accepted by the other men, but they ended up liking him more than they liked Moose.
On the other hand, we have Maddon Moose. He appears to be slightly older than Cecil, though his age is not mentioned in the text. Maddon probably dropped out of school, and therefore seems to have a need of picking on those who happens to be smarter than him. Maddon is a Saw boss and very strong physically. He is unsympathetic and always picks on others, so nobody likes him.
Hugh Garner likes to show us the characters, by what they say and do, instead of just telling the reader about them. for example; “What happened?” I asked one of Maddon’s men. “Moose burned the kid’s hand,” he told me. “He heated the end of a saw in the tea fire and then called the kid to take it to be sharpened. He handed the hot end to Cecil, and it burned his hand pretty bad.” (Hugh Garner, ‘The Moose and the Sparrow’).
The story takes place in a logging Camp, and often in the bunkers where the men live, during the summer holidays. This is an important part of the story, and a course to Cecil’s problems; the setting gives Moose an opportunity of giving Cecil the hardest work possibly.
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