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Comparing Fiction and Non Fiction

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Marlo Wilson

Business Literature

January 15,2007

Lynn Nelson

Comparing Narrative in Fiction and Non-Fiction Paper

Comparing Narrative in Fiction and Non-Fiction Paper 1

" My Lack of Gumption" a non fiction story by Russell Baker and "Forty-Five

Month a fiction story by R. K. Narayan were two very interesting readings. It

was quite amazing to see how two authors with totally unique writing styles

portrayed the same message. One was comprised of real characters while the

other was a figment of the author’s imagination. Although each author had a

different perspective they both very clearly conveyed the strong dislike that each

character had for the job they were doing at that time.

''My Lack of Gumption was a nonfiction story that took place in the early

nineteen hundreds. The main character of this particular story was an eight year

old child by the name of Russell. It became quite apparent to his mom that he

was very content with the idea of just listening to music and reading books.

Russell’s mother was a single parent who was strong willed and very motivated.

There is no way that she would ever be comfortable with idea of Russell not

doing something to contribute to the household. One day after school she invited

one of the top executives from Curtis Publishing Company over to meet Russell.

This soon led to the start of Russell’s career in journalism which was something

that his mom had always dreamed of. The very next week Russell found himself

trying to sell magazines on the corner of Belleville avenue in New Jersey. For

many days Russell attempted to sell these magazines however, he was not

successful. As the days progressed Russell started to become very

discouraged. He really hated this job. In fact he told his mom that this was not

Comparing Narrative Fiction and Non-Fiction Paper 2

the job for him. There was no way that his mother was going to listen to

anything that he had to say. She even threatened to take his belt and beat some

since into him as a result of his comments. Russell truly disliked the idea of

being a salesman but he disliked the money that it paid even more. After three

years of sales his mother finally decided to consider a less competitive career for

Russell. Her ultimate goal was to never allow him to quit. Eventually her

persistence led to the start of a career in writing.

" Forty Five a Month" which is a fictional story that also takes place in the

early nineteen hundreds. This story depicts the life of a father who spent his

entire life working very hard to provide for his family. Venkat Rao was married

and had a beautiful daughter named Shanta. Shanta loved her mom but she

was the apple of her daddy's eye. One day before school herfather promised to

take her to the cinema. This was something that they really enjoyed doing

however Venkat's job seemed to always stand in the way of the promises that he

made to her. She left school early one day and rushed home so that she could

go to the cinema. This was such an exciting time for Shanta. In fact she so

excited that she refused to eat or drink before she got dressed. She did not want

anything to stand in the way of her being ready when her father got home.

Shanta very patiently paced back and fourth as she anticipated his arrival.

Many hours had passed. It was starting to get dark outside and Shanta resigned

herself to the fact that she was not going to make it to the cinema. She was a

very intelligent little girl and her disappointment led her to have some pretty wild

Comparing Narrative in Fiction and Non-Fiction Paper 3

ideas about what she should do. She thought about going to his job and

demanding that he leave and take her to the cinema however, she very quickly

realized that she did not where he worked. Venkat worked as a clerk in

Company that had employed him for many years. Normally he reported to work

very early and did not return home until around seven or eight in the evening. He

was even expected too come into the office on Sundays. This was very troubling

for him. He literally had no time to devote to his family. In addition he was only

bringing home forty rupees a month. Which very clearly was not a lot of

money even during that time. Venakat was no different from any other hard

working man. He had to keep food on the table for his wife and child. He was

doing what he had to do in order to make a living. Eventually the disappointment

from his daughter really began to weigh on him. This ultimately led to the idea

that he would go into work and quit. He could not fathom how anything could

be more important than spending quality time with his family. He grew to resent

the company as well as his manager. Venkat went into work and wrote up his

letter of resignation. Just when he had gotten the nerve to quit they offered him

more money. He made a very challenging decision to continue working in-spite

of his wife and child.

Although these two stories were very different, they both had a very similar

message that each author wanted to convey to the reader. For example "My

Lack of Gumption" very vividly demonstrates how Russell really disliked his job

selling newspapers and wanted to quit after the first day. While "Forty Five a

Comparing Narrative in Fiction and Non-Fiction Paper 4

Month shows that Venkat also wanted to quit his job as a clerk because he was

unable to spend quality time with his family. Another interesting similarity that

unfolded was the fact that Russell felt that selling magazines for a major

corporation was paying him very little wages. He stated that the magazines were

a nickel each. Venakat Rao also felt that in-spite of the dedication that he had to

the company that employed him for many years he too was making very little

money. In fact he stated that they were paying him pennies while they were

making the big bucks. The idea of dedication is another similarity that comes to

mind. Even though Russell was an eight year old child his mother was the

driving force behind his desire to succeed, he eventually understood the

importance of working and making a living for himself. Venakt on the other was

married with a child and realized the significance of working to provide for his

family even at the expense of not being able to spend the quality time that he so

desired.

While it is very evident that one story is fictional and the other is non fictional

each author very successfully brought to life the feelings of the characters. The

setting, the use of language and the descriptives were very instrumental in

helping you feel like you were actually living through the experience. Both stories

made for easy reading and come highly recommended.

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