The short story “Crossing”, written by Mark Slouka, begins as a straightforward account of a man who takes his son to a remote area where he remembers similar experiences with his own father. He carries their packs across a shallow but fast moving river, and then goes back and carries his son across. They spend one night exploring the area, but the next day when he recrosses the river, he knows that the current is a bit stronger than the day before. When he takes the boy back across, he loses his footing. Although he does not fall, he is moved downstream four or five feet to a point that makes it seem impossible to move forward or backward. The story ends with the man in the middle of the river, telling his son that they are okay and just to “hang on.” “Crossing” deals with the son and father relationship, while bringing up the theme man vs. nature but combined with man vs. self. The narrative technique used in Crossing has a significant meaning for the reader’s understanding of the short story. We are presented to the man through a third person limited narrator and as the narrator only knows what the main character, the father, thinks, feels and recalls, it is naturally told from his point of view. We get glimpses of the things that he struggles with, “he hadn’t been happy in a while” (l. 6-7). By using this narrative technique Slouka brings us closer to the father, and the reader feels and experience his pain first-hand. Consequently the reader also wants him to succeed. Because of the limited narrator there is no insight or access to the sons mind, instead the author uses physical descriptions through the fathers eyes, who pictures him as a small and fragile boy, he has to protect, “he looked over at the miniature jeans, the sweatshirt bunched beneath the seat belt’s strap, the hiking boots dangling off the floor like weights. ‘You okay?’” (l. 8-9). The barn has significance for the main character and for the reader’s understanding of him. In...
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