2. Do you think Frank O’Connor is a skillful storyteller? If so, comment on some of his storytelling skills in The Man of the House. Use examples from the text to support your answer.
A skillful story teller should be able to captivate his/her audience with appealing plots, and deliver his/her central message effectively. In the lights of these, I think Frank O’Connor’s short story The Man in the House is skillfully written.
The story is peppered with an interesting sense of childlike innocence with O’Connor’s fine portrayal of the young protagonist Sullivan. Written from the view of a child, this narrative world is filled with playful imaginations and thoughts. Sullivan described the wooded hills as “the Rockies, the Himalayas, or the Highlands, according to your mood.” O’Connor does not articulate the landscape with extravagant words, but puts it in a way that Sullivan’s innocence is highlighted, regarding the unknown, yet in fact minor hills as majestic Wonders. It is also hilarious when Sullivan thought that a big church is closer to heaven, and thus is better than smaller ones to pray in for his sick mother. Such comment is not exclusive to children, as most adults would prefer Wong Tai Sin or Che Kung Temple to local small temples. While adults would attribute their preference to “decent” reasons about piety, Sullivan, being a child, is excused to say it bluntly, making a joke out of mature readers.
By adopting the role of Sullivan, O’Connor brings across the love between Sullivan and his mother very endearingly to the readers. As grown-ups, we are required to be independent and hide any feelings of inferiority; Sullivan too acts mature to look after his sick mother. Yet, there are fragile moments when comforts are needed. This is what Sullivan’s mother provides when Sullivan fails to deliver home the medication for her. The “miracle” at the ending does not refer to the mother’s recovery, but her love for Sullivan. The readers...