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Crossing: A Short Story Written by Mark Slouka

By Enoee Feb 24, 2014 937 Words
Crossing – Mark Slouka
“Crossing” is a short story written by Mark Slouka in 2009. The narrator is a third-person narrator, where you follow the father’s point of view and its limited point of view. This has an effect on the reader. You get involved in the story and you know what the father is thinking and why he is going the things he does. “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.” (Page 2, line 7-8) The main character is the father. He is divorced and not happy. “For some reason it made him happy, and he hadn’t been happy for a while.” (Page 2, line 6-7) “For a long time he hadn’t wanted her back, hadn’t wanted much of anything really. He went inside, wiping his shoes and ducking his head like a visitor(…)” (Page 2, line 15-16) He has a son and they go camping every now and then. He tries to have a good and healthy relationship with his son by going camping, just like the main character and his father did when he was a young boy. It seems like the main character and his father didn’t have a good father-son relationship and that is why it is so important for him to have that with his own son, so he doesn’t experience the things the main relationship has experienced. You can see the bad relationship between the main character and his father when he is crossing the river with his own son: “You just had to be careful. So what do you do if you fall? He remembered asking once – how old could he have been, seventeen? – and the old man calling back over his shoulder, “Don’t fuckin’ fall.” (Page 3, line 60-63) You do not get much information about the father or the son, so they are static flat characters. The son is a minor character. The characters do not develop throughout the story. The story takes place in the present and the modern society. Because of the divorce and the camping trips you may get the feeling of that it is a little poor family. Most of the story takes place in a wilderness where there few trees and bushes and a very large river, Quinault in America. The wilderness creates a sad and empty atmosphere while the river gives a impression of danger. The antagonist in the story could be the setting, because of the relationship between the main character and his father. As before munched, that is why he takes his own son out on hiking and camping trips and wishes to get a great relationship with the son. “”You okay?” he said. “You have to pee?” He slowed and drove the car onto the shoulder and the boy got out to pee. He looked at him standing on the rise in the brome and the bunchgrass, his little hips pushed forward. When the boy walked back to the car he swung the door open for him, then reached over and pulled the door shut and bumped out on the empty road.” (Page 2, line 8-12) Here you see how the father takes care of his son and do things to make life as easy for him as he can. The river is much stronger when they need to go home than when they came and that might be a symbol for how hard the farther has it. “The river was bigger than he remembered it, stronger; it moved like a swiftly flowing field. He didn’t remember the opposite shore being so far off. (…) Downstream, a branch caught in a dreadfall reared up like something shot, then tore loose. For a moment he considered pulling out, explaining … but there was nowhere else to go. And he’d promised.” (Page 2-3, line 34-36, 38-40) The setting is described in details and is very important for the story. The setting and especially the river could be a symbol of the relationship between the main character and his father. it seems like the father is very impressed by his son or that he maybe just wants to learn him that life is tough and that you do not fall in life. The main character does the exactly same things with his son, that he used to do with his father, except that he is friendlier and cinder. The time that he spends with his son is more important to him now after the divorce, because he do not see his boy so often. In the story there are some clear family problems. The father and son do not speak to each other very often and there is not much dialog. “Crossing” is a postmodern story. We can see that because the story starts in medias res and ends with an open ending. The writer does not describe the characters very much so we have to think of our own and maybe find an ending to the story ourselves. The story ends when the father and his son are on their way home and stands in the middle of the river. The river is much more powerful than the day before and the father finds it hard to walk and stand. We do not know if they fall and die, or if the father gets to the other side. The ending could symbolize that the father is at a turning point in his life, where he needs to decide whether he have something to life for or if he just needs to die.

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